Park County is spending nearly $60,000 for a land purchase it hopes will provide a financial return in the future.
On Feb. 2, the Park County commissioners approved by 4-0 vote to buy 58.84 acres of land bordering its landfill in Clark on County Road 1AB. The county will pay landowner Tom Gregory $52,956 to purchase the parcel.
One of the largest incentives to buy the plot is that it can be used as a source of barrow gravel, a resource the county has been sorely lacking for many years in the construction of roads and other projects.
“We’ve been looking for a new materials site for the road projects over there for many years to come so we decided to move forward,” Commissioner Chairman Lee Livingston said.
Livingston said the county was approached by Gregory about a month ago with the proposition to sell the land at $900 per acre, a rate much lower than most other properties being advertised in Clark currently.
He said county staff and Commissioner Lloyd Thiel investigated the land, drilling test holes to see what kind of materials exist on the property. He said those tests revealed about $300,000 in materials existing on-site.
“We don’t have a barrow site in that area and it’s very expensive to haul so just the material alone … is savings, but the time spent is going to be double that,” Thiel said. “I know revenue is tight but a $50,000 investment for a good barrow source that can be utilized because of its location for the county, I think it’s a win-win.”
Thiel, a Clark resident, said he did not know Gregory prior to the acquisition. But he did bring his own equipment over to the property to investigate it at no cost to the county.
Funds for the purchase will come out of the county’s general fund.
“There’s a reason you have a reserve and sometimes having that reserve allows you to save money,” Livingston said.
During their meeting Jan. 19, the commissioners agreed to adopt a proposal coming out of an executive session discussion considering the selection of a site or the purchase of real estate. They would make no comment as to what this exactly pertained to at the time.