After more than a year of negotiations, Farmington City has received permission to demolish an old house on a lot it purchased just off Main Street for a new fire station.
The city is asking for drawings and ideas from architects and exploring ways to fund the station's construction on the site at First North and First East.The lot is across the street from the Farmington Municipal Building and the current fire station, a converted red brick school.
The city bought the old house, called the Williams/Sartor home, last fall after extensive, on-again, off-again negotiations with the family that owned it.
Because of its age, the house came under state and federal historic preservation guidelines and could not immediately be razed. The city hired an archivist to photograph and draft a floor plan of the house acceptable to the National Park Service's Cultural Resource Division.
And, the house itself had to be offered for sale to the general public if anyone was interested in buying it for preservation and moving it off the lot. The house went up for sale on Oct. 18 but no offers were received.
On April 12, City Manager Max Forbush received final permission from the state's community development division to demolish the house.
Forbush estimates construction of the new station, which the City Council has designated as one of the Farmington's top priorities, at $536,000.
The city has $115,000 in its fire-protection fund and should net up to $150,000 from the sale of city lands, leaving about $270,000 to be raised through the sale of revenue or general-obligation bonds.
Forbush estimates a 15-year issue of general-obligation bonds, approved by voters, would cost the city about $32,000 a year. Half of that could come from the city's fire-protection fund and half from its general fund, with no tax increase, he estimates.
For a while, the city planned to obtain and renovate the old U.S. Forest Service Guard Station at Third North and First West, converting it to a fire station. Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, a former Farmington councilman and mayor, sponsored a bill last year to turn the surplus property over to the city in a land swap.
But the parcels owned by the city are worth more than the guard station and no appropriation to make up the difference was approved by Congress, Forbush said.
The Bush administration has halted disposing of any more federal land, including Forest Service property, Forbush said, and that approach has been temporarily held up.
The city is negotiating now on a land swap, proposing to trade some land it owns adjacent to Forest Service property at the mouth of Farmington Canyon for the old guard station and some other Forest Service property on the north edge of the city, which could be resold as subdivision land.
The parcels of property will have to be appraised before negotiations proceed, the city manager said.