Graton stunned by sudden fire district move
Much to the surprise of most of the residents of Graton, the Graton Fire Department called a special meeting for Tuesday, February 21 at 5 p.m. to consider a private bid for the old Graton firehouse site. There has been a broad community movement to buy the site and create a park for the town and the West County Trail, a popular bicycle and hiking path.
HoLlynn D’Lil a Graton community activist, said the Graton Green Group, the non-profit seeking to build the park, had submitted a bid in December but have had no reply. The group has heard nothing about the new commercial bid the board received, and the fire board put the property on the market a week before it had announced it would at the the last official meeting.
“At the Board meeting last Tuesday we were told that the Board wants to pay down their $3 million debt on the new firehouse as their mortgage payments are $200K per year. However, we have since learned that paying down their debt does not lessen their mortgage payments. It will instead shorten the time on their 30-year payout. Bill Bullard suggests that they will probably want to pay of a loan for a December 2010 purchase of a “wildland engine” for $300,000,” said D’Lil.
She went on to say, “We are quite confident that the majority of the community supports a park at that site, as we have received pledges totaling $75,000 toward the park land purchase, by only soliciting those on our email list of about 100 households.”