Holladay - - Ground will soon be broken for the new fire station on Murray-Holladay Road and the historical Casto home that sits on the corner of the property will need to be relocated or demolished. Saving the historical monument comes at a price, but in resounding agreement the Holladay residents that attended the public hearing on March 22 said they were willing to pay it.
The home was built in 1870 by Santa Anna Casto on what is now known as Casto Lane. Moved more than ten years ago to its current location next to the community gardens, the home has remained boarded up and unused.
Holladay Historic Commission member Ann Engar started the public hearing by reading a letter from fellow commissioner Tom Nelson. According to Nelson the total investment for the preservation of the property comes to $205,398.49 not to mention countless hours of work from community members.
“This important piece of history should be preserved,” Engar read. “To consider walking away from an investment of this magnitude to save $20,000 out of a $1.5 million budget would be foolish. While demolition would not be illegal, it would certainly be a breech of ethics.”
The estimate for moving the home, establishing footings and a new foundation ranges from $54,000 to $60,000 and demolition would cost the city approximately $10,000.
Casto’s great great great grandson Matthew Casto spoke on behalf of his family and gave a statement in supporting the preservation of the monument.
“The home has not been owned by our family for almost one hundred years, but that does not diminish our desire to see it maintained as a piece of Utah history,” Casto said. “We want to give our posterity the opportunity to remember those great persons that helped make this valley a wonderful place to live.”
In opposition of saving the home, Councilman Steve Gunn said he still thinks the house should be torn down.
“I don’t believe public money should be used to move the home,” Gunn said. “Those of you that want to preserve the home should be willing to step forward and pay for the cost of moving it.”
Gunn continued to say that he would pledge half his monthly salary toward the cause.
Councilman Lynn Pace said he was pleased to hear Gunn’s pledge because “if we are trying to raise money to save it, then it is worth saving.”
Pace said there was considerable effort to move the home to where it is now and it is obviously in the wrong spot so it is up to the city to pay to move it.
“My other thought is that when you build a building, you have to buy the land and then clear the land. In this case we were given the land by Salt Lake County and the only encumbrance on the land is the Casto home,” Pace said. “The relatively minor cost to have the home moved is a modest expense in what is an ordinary line item on a project like the fire station.”
There are still many unknowns with this issue. Where it will be relocated and what would the function of the home be is still up for debate. A possible location would be behind city hall and although there is no budgeted money to restore the home any time soon, the council talked about beautifying the area around the home if it were to be relocated.
Council member Sabrina Petersen said she thinks there would be support in the community to raise money to preserve the historical building.
“We can clean up the exterior and restore it on the outside to an 1870’s era home without doing anything inside of it,” Petersen said. “We can have a nice plaque on the outside. I think we owe the public something for us moving it if we do.”
In an informal straw poll, Gunn was the only opposing vote to move the home. The official vote will take place on April 19.