Durango, CO: The city of Durango and the Durango Fire Protection District have reached an initial agreement for the city to buy the former Durango School District 9-R property from the fire district. In exchange, the fire district would receive River City Hall.
The deal still needs to be approved by the fire district board of directors and city councilors, and will be discussed in greater detail at their next meeting on May 30, at 10 a.m. at the fire district's Station No. 1, 142 Sheppard Drive.
“This comes at the end of some really good, honest, tough negotiations between both parties,” said City Manager José Madrigal. “I believe both sides are getting good values considering the scale of the projects, and this agreement meets the public’s desire to keep a fire station downtown as well as preserve a historic building that is one of downtown’s gems.”
Under the deal, the city would offer River City Hall and $3,586,275 to the fire district in exchange for the former 9-R property, which includes the administration building and Big Picture High School. This would allow the fire district to build a new station downtown on the River City Hall site, and the city would move forward with its plans to convert the administration building to a civic center.
Bob Allen, with Allen and Associates of Durango said it was a pleasure working with the city and the fire district in ensuring each party gets market value for their respective properties. “The offer of $3.586 million from the city is fair when taking into consideration Colorado Department of Transportation’s appraised value of the River City Hall property of $3.9 million, and then subtracting the parkland portion of the property which the city will maintain, and the value of the 9R property for which DFPD paid $6.9 million,” he said
Both parties are currently operating in facilities that are space-constrained with outdated technology. The trade will allow both the city and the fire district to develop modern facilities to provide better service to the community. Numerous opportunities for public input on the design of both projects would be available.
The fire district serves an area of approximately 325 square miles and has needed an updated facility downtown for decades, said Fire Chief Hal Doughty. “This agreement is critical for us to be able to provide emergency services for a growing community,” he said. “For the fire district, this is an opportunity to replace an unsafe, and outdated workplace for our firefighters and medics. It’s a great example of different agencies collaborating and finding the most effective, cost-efficient way to provide services to our Durango residents.”
The fire district owns the former 9-R property at 12th Street and East Second Avenue but leases it back to the school district. The fire district will work with the school district to allow school district offices to be relocated. The city owns River City Hall at 1235 Camino del Rio but leases part of the property to the fire district.
The fire district and city extend a special thanks to Bob Allen and Associates for assistance in establishing equitable property values during the negotiations.
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