Tuesday Sep 16 2008
Town has a historic home to call its own
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
Deal closed on new town hall location
The Town of Loomis has closed escrow and now owns a historic building, which will soon become the new town hall. The town is also poised to open an escrow account on property owned by Union Pacific Railroad. Town council, at its Sep. 9 meeting, discussed plans for the new town hall, formerly owned by the South Placer Municipal Utilities District, located at 3671 Taylor Road. Escrow closed on Sep. 3 and operations in the facility are expected to begin on Jan. 1, 2009. The town council also discussed possible uses for a length of Taylor Road property currently owned by the railroad. According to Perry Beck, town manager, the town is ready to open an escrow account on the land. The deal has been in the works for over two years and escrow is scheduled to open in late September. The railroad property encompasses 7.06 acres that will be purchased, plus an additional 3.48 acres that will be donated. The long strip of property stretches from King Road down to Webb Street and includes the land under the railroad depot and Blue Goose Fruit Shed. Councilman Miguel Ucovich has proposed that a park be built on part of the railroad property at the end of Walnut Street and that it include a water feature and playground. Currently, the town has $220,000 in state grant Proposition 40 funds available for park building. Ucovich estimated that it would take at least two years to get a park in, “If we really started right now,” he said. While Ucovich has visions of park land, Beck is anxious to get his staff moved into the new town hall building and begin saving the $4,500 per month the town pays to lease its current site off Horseshoe Bar Road. The town paid $500,000 cash for the 3,063 square-foot, two-story 1915 building. Prior to move in, the new town hall needs cleaning, painting and new flooring, but Beck said he wants to hold off on any additional remodeling to the building. According to a town staff report, the occupancy plan “utilizes existing equipment and furnishings to the maximum extent possible with minimal changes to the building.” The report further states that the building usage will be evaluated after one year to determine if any structural changes are needed. Mayor Russ Kelley said the town was able to pay cash for the building because funds have been set aside for capital improvements. “The purchase of a town hall makes a lot of sense financially and shows we value our downtown,” Kelley said. Kelly also said the railroad property purchase will make the downtown a “nicer place” and will provide “better opportunities for parking and business growth.” According to a staff report, the purchase price for the railroad land is $1,343,390. Those funds come from grants, the town, development fees and capital reserve. The town was awarded a Roberti-Z’berg grant of $500,000 that required the town to provide matching funds of $241,300. The Parks and Open Space Commission has been directed to recommend an architect for the park and the town council will then solicit proposals.