A House government operations subcommittee approved a bill Thursday that will allow the Shriners, for a payment of $200,000, to take clear title to 7.8 acres of former Fort Douglas land on which the Hospital for Crippled Children stands.
The Shriners intend to build a new $25 million hospital on the University of Utah campus and sell the older hospital facility.The Senate passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, which would have allowed the Shriners to buy the U.S. reversion rights for $97,627, but the General Services Administration objected to that figure. Rep. Cardiss Collins, D-Ill., offered an amendment in the House committee to increase the payment and provide that the transaction be completed within 60 days of the enactment of the bill.
The land has been estimated to be worth $750,000. The Shriners paid the U.S. government $8,500, the market value of the land in 1946, but in approving the sale Congress stipulated that if it ceased to be used for a hospital for crippled children it would revert to the U.S. government. The present bill would wipe out that clause.