by Geoff Fox
After lengthy discussion, town officials last week backed away from a resolution to declare a house at 5229 Creek Road, just outside Kirkwood Park, as surplus property.
The land across the entrance from the park was originally purchased in 2016 as way to allow for more parking at events held in Kirkwood Park at the pavilion.
Since then the town has had the house sitting empty and, as Mayor Ralph Salvagno called it, abandoned.
There had been talk about creating a permanent easement where the land would be transferred to another owner but the town could use the property into the future.
He said if the house were to be a drain on the town’s budget or benefit to the town now or in the future, it should be declared a surplus, sold off, and the proceeds being used for something else.
Councilman Leo Murray said he wouldn’t want to rush into declaring the property as surplus and look at the possibility for the town to use it and look for grants to fix it up.
Councilman Tim Boyer said it wouldn’t be good for the town to lose control of the land and have someone turn it into a “mess” as it is what the public
sees as they approach Kirkwood Park.
If there is grant money available to fix the property up, Boyer said there could be use by groups like the Girl Scouts where they could have a place of their own.
They could maintain the flowerbeds and have a kitchen to cook, he added.
“There’s organizations out there to continuously use that from the town,” Boyer said.
Councilman Tim Smith agreed with Boyer and Murray.
Smith said if someone were to purchase the house, since the house is in the county, outside town restraints, the person could decide to raise pigs on the property.
“You have that nice big pavilion that’s being used for wedding receptions and stuff, and then you have a pig farm,” he said.
Murray said if the house was sold, the person who lived there could complain about noises as the park is used for concerts and outdoor movies.
Smith said he had also thought about the Girl Scouts but also thought about using the house as a camp house for organizations.
He used an example of a hiking camp as one possible use.
Town Manager Joe Gilbert said the defined purpose would also guide what grants are available.