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Old pool still for sale

Eagles lodge back in play after recreation facility group withdraws.

A group of investors planning to build an indoor tennis and soccer complex at the former Springfield Family Waterworks, 715 N. Bechtle Ave., has withdrawn interest, according to city officials.

The withdrawal could reopen negotiations with the Champion Aerie #397, Fraternal Order of Eagles lodge, which also submitted a bid on the property last summer.

According to Midland Properties’ Pete Noonan, the Eagles’ real estate agent, the organization has a sales contract for its current location at 125 W. Main St, but he could not release the prospective buyer. Eagles trustee Larry Fitzwater Jr. told the News-Sun last summer the site was listed for $1.5 million.

“It’s under contract,” Noonan said this week.

The deal could close in the next 30 days “if all goes well,” Noonan said.

Fitzwater said they’re simply waiting to sign papers and set a closing date.

The Eagles’ bid on the former pool property was approximately $192,000. The site is still listed at $40,000 per square foot, according Tom Franzen, assistant city manager and director of economic development.

“I think they still remain interested,” Franzen said.

He said they’ve had a few people inquire about the property, but has received no other serious offers.

An alley located in the parking lot of the Eagles lodge has been vacated to help facilitate a sale of the former Elite Café property on the corner of W. Main and S. Wittenberg Ave. The alley was vacated unanimously by the City Planning Board at its Jan. 7 meeting.

According to city zoning records, the alley has been utilized as part of the Eagles’ parking lot since 1973. A north-south alley previously located on the Eagles parking lot was vacated in 1969, according to city planning and zoning administrator Bryan Heck.

“It should’ve been vacated years ago,” Noonan said.

The former Elite Café property is currently under option to be purchased by the Eagles, according to Noonan.

The Eagles have approximately 2,150 members, 90 percent of whom live in Springfield and Clark County, according to trustees.

The city had two offers on the former municipal pool facility and leaders chose to negotiate with a group interested in building an indoor tennis and soccer complex.

Last summer, the city planning board unanimously approved the rezoning of 6.63 acres at 715 N. Bechtle Ave. and a partial piece of Fire Station No. 5, 707 Commerce Rd., from general manufacturing to a community commercial district to help facilitate the sale of the pool property. The new designation opened the door for different types of uses, including recreation.

City leaders were happy to have people interested in buying the site and putting it back into productive use.

“Either one of them would’ve been fine alternatives,” Mayor Warren Copeland told the News-Sun. “It was not an easy decision.”

The former pool property was once planned by park officials to be redeveloped into an entrance to Snyder Park, but the idea was nixed because it would require making adjustments to a nearby railroad crossing, according to National Trail Parks and Recreation District director Leann Castillo.

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