Salisbury Decides Future Of Old Fire Station Property

SALISBURY – After a long and drawn out process, Salisbury has received and accepted a proposal to redevelop the historic Fire Station #16.

On Monday evening, the City Council discussed a resolution of the City of Salisbury to accept a proposal submission from G Plus Properties, LLC to purchase the Old Fire Station #16 after a disposition agreement has been negotiated.

According to the resolution, the city declared the Old Fire Station #16 as surplus property on April 9, 2007, and advertised for proposals for the redevelopment purchase of the historic building three times from Dec. 6, 2012 to Dec. 20, 2012, and no bids were received.

Mayor Jim Ireton called for another opportunity for developers to submit proposals in April of this year when the city received one proposal from G Plus Properties, LLC to purchase the Old Fire Station #16 for $75,000. The developer’s response to the RFP indicates plans to redevelop the historic building into a visual performing arts center with apartments in the upstairs.

This week the resolution raised the price $10,000 more than the original proposal bringing the cost up to $85,000 for G Plus Properties, LLC with a Settlement of a Disposition Agreement on or before Aug. 31.

Councilwoman Terry Cohen stated her decision to abstain from the vote is due to a “moral dilemma.”

“We are selling this for pennies on the dollar when some time ago it was valued for over $750,000. Although other ideas were put out there, the mayor was not willing to consider them or work with council in finding ways to preserve the building … but it is now what it is,” Cohen said.

Cohen added, when she was researching discourse over the property through email dating back to Aug. 5, 2011 she had found an email between herself and the mayor when she had asked for further information and he had responded for her “to get out of the way.”

“That was a standard affair during the period but as events have transpired I have an even more uneasy feeling so I have to question whether or not I should even be participating in the vote tonight. It is a moral dilemma for me. I don’t want to vote against it because I do believe we need to take some action to ensure that building is safe,” she said. “One thing I have always tried to do is respect the fact that all five members of this council and the mayor are all elected, each and every one, by the people of Salisbury, and for the mayor to tell a dually elected representative of the people, who is just trying to do their job and gather information ‘to get out of the way’ after specifically naming a particular developer is disturbing to me, so for that reason I am going to abstain from the vote.”

G Plus Properties, LLC is a partnership between Palmer and Brad Gillis, and Joey, Chris and Tony Gilkerson.

Brad Gillis, currently president of the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, took the opportunity to approach the City Council following Cohen’s comments.

“It is painful because I know this entire process we have been going through since 2008 is going to be a revenue neutral project for us at best, and we are scrutinized for it,” he said. “I was literally sitting here wanting to jump up and say ‘never mind, I’m done.’ Let’s just get on with it. That is why we are pushing for the August deadline. It is us. Not you guys.”

The council voted 4-0 with Cohen abstained to approve the resolution.

“I am excited personally that we have accepted a bid, and we are going to have a revitalized fire house as long as we have a disposition agreement executed. It is an exciting time for the city. It is an important property to the city,” Council President Jacob Day said.

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