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Library and HFD ask county to consider selling property

Representatives of the Hudson library and fire boards are eyeing county-owned land as sites for a new library and fire hall. But at this point officials don't know if the county would consider selling.

The county's Finance Committee voted unanimously last Thursday to have Administrative Coordinator Chuck Whiting and Finance Chairman Ralph Swenson develop a proposal to create a plan for the land around the Government Center.

Fire Board Chairman Roger Riedel asked if the county would consider selling the land at the northwest corner of the intersection of Carmichael Road and County Road UU (Vine Street).

The Hudson Fire Department needs a second facility to serve a growing coverage area, said Riedel. He said the department is looking for a minimum of two acres.

The library foundation would like about four acres for a new library, said Jim O'Connor, chairman of the Hudson Area Joint Library Board. The site the library is looking at abuts an office building on the YMCA side of the land, he said.

Swenson said he has told prospective buyers that until now the county's position has been that none of its land is for sale.

During the County Board's spring goal setting session, some supervisors said they want a plan for the Government Center site before the county starts selling pieces, said County Board Chairman Buck Malick.

Supervisors have already turned away requests to the sell land for a school, a church and a professional building.

"This issue isn't going to go away," said Swenson. "I think people are going to keep asking (if the land is for sale)."

"Just to sit on property with no plan other than we're going to sit on it, I don't think is a reasonable plan," said Supervisor Daryl Standafer, Hudson.

He said it's a disservice to the public to hold on to land that could be put to better use.

"Inaction I don't think is acceptable," said Standafer.

Without a plan, the county doesn't know what kind of neighbors it wants for its facilities, said Swenson. He said he doesn't want to be in the position of saying the county won't even listen to proposals.

If the county intends to hold on to its property, it must at least indicate what it intends to do with the land, said Standafer.

Perhaps the County Board should reconsider its position every two years after a new board is seated, said Swenson.

The county will have to come up with $383,000 this year to pay part of a class action lawsuit settlement, said Swenson. In the light of that, he wondered about "the wisdom of sitting on valuable land."