A land swap between the city of Farmington and the Forest Service is awaiting appraisals of several parcels of property in the foothills above the city.
The city has been trying for several years to obtain the Forest Service guard station on 100 East at 300 North. The federal agency no longer operates the station, but staff members of the radar station atop Francis Peak use it for parking heavy equipment and other vehicles.Farmington, working through Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, tried to get the parcel two years ago for use as a fire station. But all land swaps and other surrenders were temporarily halted when the Bush administration took office.
The policy has since been eased and the city is now negotiating again with Forest Service property management officials.
The city is looking to swap 73 acres it owns at the mouth of Farmington Canyon to the Forest Service for the guard station and some other federally owned parcels in the lower reaches of the foothills above the city.
Initial appraisals showed the city's 73 acres worth more than $100,000 over the value of the guard station and the Forest Service said it would either pay the difference or expand the land swap to include parcels that lie adjacent to the city's east side.
Two parcels, one east of 200 South and the other near the head of Shepard Creek, are under consideration.
The Forest Service wants the land at Farmington Canyon for watershed protection and to guarantee trails and general access to the canyon.
It is willing to trade off the other two parcels in the foothills because they are of marginal value as forest land and lie immediately adjacent to the city, in some cases just across the fence from homeowners' back yards.
The Forest Service parcels are criss-crossed with roads and ATV trails and the agency believes it can be better managed and controlled by the city.
Now that the city has gone ahead and bought land and built its fire and police station two blocks south of the guard station, city officials say they have no immediate plans for the guard station if it is acquired.
But, city planner Craig Hinckley said, the city views the property as a future asset and would like to acquire it.