Photo by The Daily Courier .
Originally Published: May 8, 2017 6:05 a.m.
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The fire station that housed Prescott’s Granite Mountain Hotshots, and later served as a repository for the community’s grief for the 19 fallen crew members, could go on the market soon.
That is the word from city officials, who reported this week that the two-and-a-half-month waiting period for sale of Station 7 produced no proposals by the May 1 deadline.
“We didn’t get anything from the families,” Prescott City Manager Michael Lamar said Friday, May 5.
With that, he said, “We’re probably going to list (the property) on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service).”
Family-requested waiting period
The Prescott City Council had earlier given the Hotshot families until May 1 to come up with a plan for saving the fire station.
The council action came in the midst of discussion on how to pay down the city’s more than $78 million shortfall with the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System (PSPRS). Among the options was selling off “surplus” city properties, including the Sixth Street property.
At the request of Hotshot family members, the council agreed to delay advertising the Station 7 parcel to allow time for an alternative plan.
That led to a series of meetings between Prescott Fire Chief Dennis Light and family members and other advocates for preserving the fire station.
In late February, a group of about two dozen family members and interested residents met at Station 7 to talk about options for buying or leasing the fire station, and possibly repurposing it as a wildfire training center or museum.
Roadblock in talks
But the option that arose that day apparently hit a snag, Light said, noting that he had recently been in contact with involved parties.
With no proposal forthcoming, Light said he mailed a letter to the next-of-kin of the 19 fallen Hotshots, letting them know that plans for purchasing the station had not come to fruition.
Among the options that came up at the February meeting was purchase or lease of the fire station by the United Yavapai Fire Fighters. Although the discussion was tentative at that point, several representatives of the group expressed interest in acquiring the station.
“To date, they haven’t been able to fulfill that,” Light said this week of the organization. Representatives of the United Yavapai Fire Fighters were unavailable for comment on the matter Friday.
Light noted that the purchase of Station 7 is not only an “emotional challenge,” but also “a very complex undertaking to bring something forward.”
Fire Station 7 served as the home of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, and was the site from which they responded to the call for the Yarnell Hill Fire in June 2013. Nineteen members of the crew died fighting that fir on June 30, 2013.
In the aftermath, the community left thousands of remembrances – flag, ribbons, messages, photos, and firefighting gear – along the chain link fence surrounding the station.
A future sale
Lamar was uncertain this week when Station 7 might be listed for sale, but noted that other properties that the city agreed to sell have begun appearing on the MLS.
Prescott Community Outreach Manager John Heiney reported that the city earlier listed two separate parcels on EZ Street (behind Station 7), and opened bids for the properties on Thursday, May 4. He declined to comment on the details of the bids or the number received.
The city also has listed the 2.29-acre Old South Reservoir parcel, which is located off Senator Highway near Palmer Hill. The bids for that property are scheduled to be opened on May 18, Heiney said.
The City Council also approved the sale of two Chino Valley water parcels – a five-acre portion of the city’s Chino Valley Well #1 Site along Highway 89; and a 20-acre parcel at Chino Valley Well #3. Those parcels have yet to be listed.
Lamar said the parcels are being listed piecemeal, as the city works out the details.