The Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the Pottawatomie Board of County Commissioners have reached an agreement regarding approximately 20 acres of land known as the Mission Hill property.
Pottawatomie County Commissioners have conveyed the property to Citizen Potawatomi Nation, effective immediately.
“The Citizen Potawatomi Nation deeply values the goodwill and vital working relationship with the Pottawatomie County Commissioners,” said Tribal Chairman John “Rocky” Barrett. “The Mission Hill Hospital discussions have continued for more than 15 years and we are thankful to have reached an agreement.”
Pottawatomie County was given the property under the mandatory legal requirement that it would be used by the county exclusively for a public purpose, as required by Federal Law. The county had not used the property only for a public purpose in many years, as affirmed by the Department of Interior in 2012. According to federal law, if the land is no longer used for a public purpose, then it reverts back to the original owner - the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.
The agreement allows Pottawatomie County Commissioners to deed the property to CPN immediately and CPN will allow Pottawatomie County to collect lease funds from Cornerstone, a commercial tenant that operates an acute care facility, for four years.
The One Safe Place Family Justice Center, a center for county services for victims of family violence, will also remain on the property, rent free, for four years.
The Citizen Potawatomi Nation will also allow the county’s branch of the State Department of Health to occupy a building on the property for 15 years. During that time, Citizen Potawatomi Nation will be responsible for the maintenance of the property. The agreement is subject to a final lease agreement with Cornerstone, Department of Interior approval, and exchange of documents.
“We appreciate the time that the County Commissioners, former District Attorney Richard Smothermon and District Attorney Allan Grubb have taken to negotiate on behalf of Pottawatomie County,” added Barrett. “We look forward to continuing our working relationship with these parties.”
The Pottawatomie County Board of County Commissioners finalized the lease agreements during Tuesday's meeting.
The land that the former Mission Hill building and health department was constructed on was once part of Citizen Potawatomi Nation, but in 1959 the Secretary of the Interior deeded the land to Pottawatomie County as long as the land was used for school or other public purpose.