The city is proposing to carve out 3 acres before selling a larger tract of land jointly owned with Franklin County.

The Washington City Council Monday approved an agreement with Avison Young to market 29.6 acres located at 4811 South Point Road near the Phoenix II shopping center.

An ordinance was approved 8-0 that states the sale of property excludes 1 acre at the “highest elevation” that will be the future location of a city water tower. In addition, there will be 2 acres where a new fire station will be built.

The council voted Oct. 28 to approve the listing agreement based upon the most recent appraisal of the property at $950,000.

However, the ordinance approved Monday noted that the city will keep 3 acres, the location of which will be decided by the city and the buyer.

“Ideally, we will like both of those together — and we can have that — the final sale is up to you,” Daren Lamb, city administrator, told the council.

The county owns about 18 acres and Washington owns the remaining 11 acres.

The Franklin County Commission approved the commission order Tuesday to list the property.

The property was donated to the city/county in May 2006 by developer Joe Vernaci as part of the original development agreement for the Phoenix Center II project.

Part of the agreement was the city/county could not sell the property for five years and if and when they did sell, Vernaci would be given first rights to buy it back.

Up until July, both entities had agreed they would donate their portions of the land to the state in an effort to lure the construction of a new veterans home to Washington.

When the veterans home first was discussed, the city wanted to know if the site could hold both a veterans home and potential city buildings. It was decided the city’s plans would not interfere with the footprint of a proposed home.

City Needs

Washington Fire Department conducted an ISO study which concluded it to be the ideal location for the next fire station. Both the fire station and water tower were identified as needs during the capital improvement sales tax campaign.

During a fire station location and Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating study presented in 2018, it was determined that a station on the southeast side of town could help with response times and coverage.

ISO ratings influence insurance rates at businesses and homes. An ISO study typically is conducted every 10 years. Washington’s most recent study was conducted about five years ago.

In August 2017, former Fire Chief Bill Halmich told the city’s administration/operations committee a new station in the area of South Point Road would provide better service. He said the decision is based on a hydrant census of the area, which indicates there is a need for more coverage.