City, GFPS land swap on commission agenda for aquatics facility
City Commissioners are set to consider during their Dec. 15 meeting a public hearing for Jan. 5 for the exchange of city owned property in Kranz Park with property owned by Great Falls Public Schools near Loy Elementary.
The land swap was orchestrated to get land for the city’s planned joint indoor aquatics and recreation facility with a $10 million Defense Department grant.
The city has since determined that the site has soil conditions that will make the project more costly than anticipated and is looking for an alternative site or other options.
City Manager Greg Doyon said that representatives from the Peak met once in person with him and Mayor Bob Kelly to discuss a potential management agreement or possible partnerships with their existing facility. Doyon said the city contacted the Defense Department’s Office of Economic Adjustment, which oversees the grant, about the idea, and were told it was not consistent with the grant application so it was not pursued.
Doyon said he’s had other property offers to relocate the aquatics facility, “but the same question persists: Will the soils work? Will OEA approve a move at his juncture? Will MAFB consent? The base wants it close and I don’t blame them, but the city as the owner/operator needs it to pencil out – so we’re trying to address all of these issues at the moment.”
If the site isn’t eventually used for the aquatics facility, the city will use it for other purposes, according to the city staff report.
The district wants six lots in Kranz Park for parking for Great Falls High School for 10 acres adjacent to the Seibel Soccer Park.
Both properties have been valued to be like kind with equal or greater value of approximately $150,000, according to the city.
Under the agreement, the city and district agree to prorate taxes, special improvement assessments for the current tax year, permit fees, water and sewer charges, irrigation assessments, maintenance fees, and any other pre-paid charges concerning the respective properties, as are applicable as of the date of closing, according to the city.
The city will retain a right of reversion should the parcel in Kranz cease to be used for public purposes and in that case, the district would be compensated the amount equal to the appraised value of the property at the time of reversion as if it were undeveloped and not include improvements, according to the city.