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Fountain Green Holds open house to

discuss new city hall and fire station

 

By James Tilson

Sports writer

8-30-2018

FOUNTAIN GREEN—About two dozen residents attended an “open house” last week to learn about plan to build a new combined city hall and fire station.

The proposed site is on State Street between 300 and 400 North, and the estimated cost is $2 million. While public approval is not required, the city plans to send out ballots to citizens in the next week or two to get their approval before moving forward.

At the open house Thursday, Aug. 23, Mayor Willard Wood explained the plan was to sell the present city building, once an elementary school, and use the proceeds to match a potential 50/50 grant or loan from the Utah Community Impact Board (CIB).

The mayor said the existing city building would be sold to a family who plans to turn it into a combined “activity center” and private residence. He said the building would be sold at its “full appraised value” of $300,000. Meanwhile, he said, the city hopes to retain the old fire station for storage.

Wood laid out the schedule for the project. A planning meeting will be held in October, where the city will present its plans, get CIB input, and based on the input, possibly amend the plan. The city’s formal application would be due in January 2019, and the CIB would make its decision in February 2019. If everything went as scheduled, the city would break ground in March 2019.

The city plans to apply proceeds from sale of the current city building toward its expected payments on the new city hall from 2019 through 2025-26, Wood said. By then, debt on some earlier city projects will be paid off. Then the city can divert funds now budgeted for the earlier debts to meet its new obligation. By doing so, the mayor said, the city would not need to raise taxes to pay for the new building.

The mayor told the audience that plans for the building had not yet to be prepared, but blueprints for a similar building in Elsinore, Sevier County, were on display for the audience. The city is considering using the same design.

In response to questions from the audience, Mayor Wood said the new building would “absolutely” have a library in the basement, although it would only be reached by stairs or a ramp. “An elevator cost as much as half the building,” he said.

Wood said the proposed budget for the building included “contingencies” for any cost overruns, although any “extra” money could not go to any other project, but would have to be returned to the CIB.

At the end, Wood said that even if the city doesn’t get approval from citizens or the CIB to build the new combined city hall and fire station, it will go ahead with a new fire station. “Everyone needs to know that,” he said.