Vista Park is going to be 9.5 acres larger after a City Council vote Thursday night to move ahead with the purchase of an old Murray City landfill for $250,000.

The council directed Mayor Janice Auger to sign the purchase contract for the old landfill east of 2200 West at about 5000 South.Auger said the property, which will become an annex to the adjacent Vista Park, will be developed with a passive methane gas collector system to collect and vent gas being created below ground by decomposing landfill materials.

She also said Murray city has agreed in principle to help pay for the system, which will cost between $100,000 and $150,000 according to estimates provided by the Kleinfelder Inc. environmental research firm.

However, Auger said the extent of Murray City's participation has not been determined yet.

The Murray City Council also hasn't agreed officially to sell the property, although the two cities have been talking about a transaction for months.

Shannon Jacobs, executive director to the Murray Council, said a public hearing is being scheduled for May 5 to declare the landfill property surplus so it can be sold.

Auger said Taylorsville council members will also have to approve the expenditure of funds and the final purchase contract before the deal is final.

The old landfill, which mostly contained a harmless mixture of yard waste and construction debris, was closed by Murray in late 1989 or early 1990.

When Taylorsville was incorporated in 1995, it created a small island of Murray-owned property within the new city boundaries.

Murray had no need for the old landfill, so city officials commissioned an environmental study by Kleinfelder last summer to determine whether the landfill was suitable for use as a park.

The assessment found few problems with the site other than the methane gas, which does not present a public health hazard provided an underground gas collector system is installed to collect and safely disperse the methane.

However, some ground impregnated with dis-carded motor oil was located by the study and may have to be excavated.

The amount of oil contamination was so minimal it "should not present a health or environmental concern," the study said.

A public hearing held for area residents in December found that people living near the old landfill were more concerned about park facilities than they were about the methane gas issue.

Local residents favored more open space while Little League supporters want more ball diamonds, but city officials decided not to make any commitments until they could study the competing demands.

"We have a conceptual design now, and we think it's a good compromise," said Auger. "In the existing Vista Park, the girls softball fields are being upgraded.

"In the new annex, there will be green space and picnic tables," she added, "providing areas for relaxation, family recreation and other uses."

The mayor also said there will be a sizable paved area to provide off-street parking, which addresses the concerns of residents who did not want a lot of cars constantly parked along 2200 West.