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City agrees to help at Ox Cart

Last month, Dan Holzgrove purchased a piece of property from the city of Detroit Lakes at the corner of Ox Cart Trail and East Shore Drive. Now he's asking for his money back.

In a letter to the city, Holzgrove, who also restored the DL Pavilion this summer, said after he purchased the lot, he was told he would have to provide soil borings before the land could be built on. He said he didn't know this before the sale.

After having the borings done, he said Mid West Testing Laboratory said he would need to excavate 10-12 feet of fill, which would bring him about two feet below the water table, needing to spend money on dewatering the property as well. He estimated he would need to spend $30,000 before even getting to build. He paid $18,000 for the land.

"With all due respect," he wrote, "not disclosing known issues regarding the city lot was wrong both ethically and morally, and perhaps even legally."

He said had he known the issue with the soil, he wouldn't have purchased the lot. Since he had already though, Holzgrove asked the sale of the lot be reversed and the city pay for the soil testing.

At the community development committee meeting Monday afternoon, members assured Holzgrove they didn't know about the soil issues before the sale of the land.

"Who knew what, when, I don't know, but I'm left holding the bag," Holzgrove said.

Alderman Matt Brenk said if the city is responsible for the land then it should take back the land and give Holzgrove his money back.

Alderman James Hannon suggested the city help Holzgrove with the costs of work, otherwise "we'll be sitting on it forever."

City Administrator Rich Grabow said the street department could help with hauling fill but didn't have the equipment to dig and de-water the area.

When asked if he would rather keep the property, use it for residential like he anticipated and have the city help with costs or have the city reverse the sale and take back the land, Holzgrove said the first option was what he was in favor of.

"That is my preference," he said of the city helping. "I'd like to keep the lot and make it useable."

The city council decided to take corrective action and agreed to pay up to $18,000 for work with fill and dewatering.