WASHINGTON — Alec Peters is the new owner of a 112.3-acre farm in Washington.

The City Council on Monday approved selling the city-owned former Blumenshine farm to the 23-year-old professional basketball player for $1.235 million.

Bidding on the farm, which is east of Dieble Road and north of U.S. Business Route 24, began in March. The city has been renting the farm on a growing season basis for several years.

Peters was drafted in the second round by the NBA's Phoenix Suns in 2017 after outstanding careers at Washington Community High School and Valparaiso University.

The 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward was a first-team All-State selection twice at Washington and a third-team All-American and Horizon League Player of the Year at Valparaiso when he was a senior.

After a year with the Suns, in which he played 20 games and averaged 4.1 points and 1.9 rebounds in 11.3 minutes per game, Peters signed a one-year contract with CSKA of Moscow, one of the top club teams in the EuroLeague.

His salary for the 2017-2018 season was $77,250. His salary with the Russian team isn't known.

The City Council on Monday also approved growing season lease agreements for the city-owned "223" property and former Tarvin farm.

Aaron Vercler will lease the "223" property for $59,744, and Northtown Farms Inc. will lease the former Tarvin farm for $11,540.

The "223" property is 223 acres of vacant land off U.S. Route 24 purchased by the city for nearly $4.965 million in September 2013. City officials have been working since then to find developers for the land.

With payment for the land due in September 2020, the City Council in May agreed to borrow $1 million from low bidder Busey Bank — payable over a 10-year period with 4.35 percent interest — and dig into city reserves for the remainder of what is owed.

Revenue from the sale of city-owned farmland like the former Blumenshine farm along with leases and sales of the "223" property will be used to pay for the land.

Morton Community Bank loaned the city $4.9 million at a 2.75 percent interest rate so the city could buy the land. The city has been required to pay only the interest on the loan — $138,540 annually — since then, with the principal due in September 2020.

Also Monday, the City Council approved a budgeted $10,000 sponsorship of the 14th annual Washington Tournament of Champions boys high school basketball competition, which begins Tuesday and continues through Saturday at Washington Community High School.

Tournament director Shawn Powell thanked city officials for their ongoing support of the tournament.

Resident Wes Blumenshine said the sponsorship is an excellent use of taxpayer money because of the attention and business the tournament brings to Washington.

"If you're not growing, you're dying, and events like this keep our city growing," Blumenshine said. "This tournament could be held in any city in the country, and it's held in Washington."

Top teams from across the area and the country will compete in Torry Gym over the next five days.

"Everybody involved in the tournament is a volunteer," Powell said. "Our hearts are in the right place. That's why the tournament is so successful, and why 60 to 80 teams from across the country contact me every year wanting to come to Washington."

A tentative 2018 tax levy (payable in 2019) of $1,647,675, an increase of about $115,000 from 2017, also was approved Monday by the City Council.


Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or stevestein21@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.