City of Athens may pay significantly less than initial estimate for the new fire station property

Posted on:

< < Back to

ATHENS, Ohio (WOUB) — The price the city of Athens pays for the land to build a new fire station on may be significantly less than an initial estimate.

An athens fire truck
[WOUB File Photo]
The 10.6 acre lot along Stimson Avenue just past the roundabout appraised for about $202,000, Andy Stone, the city’s service safety director, told the City Council at its meeting Monday.

A preliminary appraisal had put the value at $350,000 to $550,000, but that did not factor in the restrictions Ohio University, which owns the land, is placing on its use after the sale.

The university’s board of trustees agreed to sell the property to the city with the following conditions: the city can develop up to three acres; about six acres must be maintained as green space; and the university can lease back up to one acre at a cost of $1 per year to build a police station if it desires to at some point.

Stone said these restrictions of the property’s use decreased its value. The appraisal must be reviewed before the price is final.

An ordinance setting aside $600,000 to buy the land and begin site preparation got its first reading before the council on Monday. Ordinances require three readings before the council can vote on them. The council will hold a special session next week for a second reading to move the ordinance along more quickly.

The Stimson property, which runs along the Hocking River, is in the floodplain, and the initial site prep includes bringing in tons of fill dirt to raise it up. The city hopes to get much of that fill dirt from the work now underway on the Highway 50/33 interchange by the state Department of Transportation.

The money to buy the property and build the new fire station comes from an increase in the local income tax approved by Athens voters in May. The city issued $9 million in bonds to finance the new station and will use the tax increase to pay them back.

The new station will replace the one on Columbus Road, which was built in the 1960s and is now literally falling apart. City officials, including the fire chief, like the Stimson location because it’s just down the road from the interchange, providing easy access to much of the city.

If all goes according to plan, Stone said, the new station could be ready for move-in by the end of next year.