HOLLADAY — The abandoned, orangish-brown brick home sits on an otherwise vacant lot on 4800 South, just across the street from Olympus Junior High School.
Its windows are boarded up. A few paint cans litter the property, left over from a touch-up job on the home's front and side porches.
Despite signs of recent neglect, the house has been a part of Holladay's history since the late 1800s, when early settler Santa Anna Casto built it on the north side of what is now Casto Lane.
But it may not be part of the city's future.
The Holladay City Council will decide in the coming weeks whether to relocate the Casto home or tear it down. The city plans to build a much-needed fire station at the site this summer to replace the structurally unsafe station at 4625 S. Holladay Blvd.
"It's a difficult decision," Councilman Steve Gunn said. "It's simply not possible for the Casto home to remain where it is."
The property where the home now sits was donated to the city by Salt Lake County with a requirement that it be used for a public purpose.
The new fire station would not be able to share the lot with the Casto house, city officials said, because fire trucks will need to access 4800 South at the traffic signal across from the junior high.
City officials also said a new fire station is long overdue. For the past eight years, firefighters assigned to the station have been using portables behind the 90-year-old building as living quarters. The station itself houses only vehicles and equipment.
The Casto home already has been moved once — traveling from Casto Lane to its current location in 2001. The City Council secured outside funding for that move.
Gunn said he'd like to see that happen again.
"I think those who want to see it preserved should foot the bill for it," he said, adding that he'd be willing to donate his own money to that cause. "I'd like to see it preserved, but I don't think taxpayers should pay for it."
City officials estimate relocating the home again would cost about $55,000 — $40,000 for the move and $15,000 for the foundation at a new site. Demolishing the building and hauling away the rubble would cost roughly $10,000.
It's a dilemma for the City Council and residents alike: Is preserving the Casto home worth $45,000 or would that money be better spent on other city improvements?
Councilman Lynn Pace said he favors preserving the home and that it's the city's responsibility to make sure that happens.
"There was a considerable effort made to move the home to where it is now," Pace said. "If the home is in the wrong spot, that's because the city put it in the wrong spot. That's our problem to fix."
Ann Engar, a member of the Holladay Historic Commission, urged the City Council during a public hearing Thursday night to preserve "this important piece of history."
More than $200,000 has been spent over the years to preserve and restore Casto home, including the move from Casto Lane, Engar said.
"It seems to us that considering walking away from an investment of that magnitude to save $20,000 would be foolish," she said.
Ray Thomas lives on Casto Lane, not far from the home's original location.
Thomas told the City Council that he hopes the home will not only be preserved but renovated so it can be reused. The original plan for the home's current site called for a park to be built around the home.
"Unfortunately, it was never developed as a park," he said, "and it's been boarded up. It has not been respected historically."
Gunn said he would support a partnership in which the city pays for most or all of the new foundation, with those who want to save the home covering the remainder of the cost.
No relocation site has been selected. There are several city-owned properties near City Hall where the house could be moved, city officials said.
Possible uses for the home, if it's preserved, include a museum, playhouse for children or even a concession stand for neighboring ballfields.
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