Utah Board Plans to Put 139 The Great Road on Open Market If Town Doesn’t Meet New Price

Thursday is a significant day for the future of a proposed fire station at 139 The Great Road.

Purchase of the site for $1.55 million – a price negotiated between town officials and the owner, Utah State University — was approved by Annual Town Meeting vote in late March.

But after receiving a counter offer for $1.7 million, the Executive Board of the Utah System of Higher Education had second thoughts. That panel voted last week to sell to the town – as long as it can match the higher price by June 9.

Tuesday Emilie Wheeler, the news director for the university, spelled it out:

“If the city does not come back with the offer to match the higher amount by June 9, then USU would go back and put the property on the open market.”

That’s a variation from the original board discussion, which focused solely on the alternative bid – submitted by Carol Amick and William Moonan. Although they are abutters to the fire station site, Amick said their purpose in attempting to buy the property is to ensure that the character of the Historic District is not compromised.

The Select Board is scheduled to meet Thursday at 1:30 p.m., convening immediately in executive session for “discussing strategy related to the acquisition of 139 The Great Road.” The agenda also says that at 2:25 the board will return to open session for a “discussion.”

The same agenda was posted for June 2, but there was no discussion, just a brief statement. There has been no official consideration of the possible town options since then.

If the property is released to the real estate market, rather than sold outright to the higher bidder, that could give the Select Board time to call a special town meeting and seek approval to supplement the original price, perhaps with language enabling flexibility. The original $1.55 million has already been raised through the Town’s bond sale on June 1.

Even if the town overpays for the parcel, the amount would be dwarfed by the projected cost of an earlier proposed site, 175 The Great Road.

Annual Town Meeting in 2020 was expected to decide on that $7.6 million eminent domain proposal, but the arrival of the pandemic delayed and streamlined town meeting for the next two annual warrants.

Several sites were identified in 2019 after a detailed analysis. Only property between Loomis Street and Willson Park along The Great Road was considered for a variety of reasons, including equalizing response times and access to main routes.

Amick and Moonan are the lead plaintiffs in litigation challenging the legality of the procurement process. That challenge was filed on May 3 and remains on the docket in Middlesex Superior Court.

Another potential roadblock is the Historic District Commission, a majority of whose members have suggested they would be unlikely to approve a permit to demolish the existing 19th-century building at 139 The Great Road. The commission can’t act until it can examine plans for the replacement structure; funding for the design of the new fire station was approved at Annual Town Meeting.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at mike@thebedfordcitizen.org, or 781-983-1763


Keep our journalism strong! Support The Citizen Journalism Fund today. Contact The Bedford Citizen: editor@thebedfordcitizen.org or 781-325-8606

Share your enthusiasm for this article!

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

3 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Valerie Rushanan
Valerie Rushanan
3 months ago

Is it possible to move the 19th-century building to another location? Is there a historic property in Bedford that could accommodate it? Is it the type of building that could serve as a museum?

Mario Mendes
Mario Mendes
3 months ago

That building needs to come down. The people of Bedford voted to have it demolished to put a new fire station there. The people of Bedford clearly made it known that a new fire station is a greater good necessity then ONE old building where some rich guy lived. There is a huge number of historical buildings in town. We did not vote to demolish entire blocks of historical buildings. It is ONE old building that you can barely see from the street by the way, because there is a huge tree in front of it that keeps you from even knowing there is an old building in there.

Cutler St
Cutler St
3 months ago
Reply to  Mario Mendes

And thank you to the two people who made the town pay an addition 150,000 to pay for it …. Taking funds away from another project the town needs to do. Way to go!
Let’s watch out taxes go up because of these friendly “rich” neighbors of ours!

3
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x