Lee County has received an unexpected windfall from a piece of property it neglected for years.
The County Board first learned of the run-down storage shed in Argyle last year. It housed equipment for the secondary roads department but the county was not maintaining the shed or the land it sat on.
Neighbors told the board that they had kept up the site for more than a decade without any compensation from the county.
The county board chose to sell the site through a sealed bid process instead of repairing the shed and maintaining the property. The property was appraised at roughly $6,000.
Chairman Gary Folluo this week opened the two sealed bids the county received for the shed.
One bid, from a neighbor of the property, came in at about $2,500. The second, from another neighbor, came in at more than $21,000.
“I was extremely, extremely surprised,” said Folluo after reading the bids. “It’s not a very big piece of property and for someone to step to the plate like that, that’s remarkable. We are eternally grateful. I actually didn’t expect it to bring in more than a couple thousand dollars.”
The winning bidder said he planned to clean up the site and keep it maintained. The second place finisher told the board he was just glad someone was going to take care of the property.
The money from the sale will go into the county’s general fund, which pays for day-to-day operations of county government.
This story was produced by Tri States Public Radio. TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the important issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.