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City OKs sale of remaining land on old hospital site

Aug 15, 2014 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

The City of Riverton has agreed to sell the last two parcels of the old hospital property at North 12th Street East between Jackson and Park avenues.

The Realtor involved in the sale said he anticipates construction of single family homes on the parcels will begin next spring.

Old hospital

Much of the lot has sat vacant since the city demolished the old Riverton Memorial Hospital several years ago. The structure had been abandoned since 1983, when Riverton's current hospital was built. The city purchased the property in 2007.

Portions of the parcel have been sold, with one section now housing the Soldiers Project -- Wyoming Chapter, a nonprofit organization that provides free, confidential psychological services to military personnel who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Another area on the lot went to Habitat for Humanity in 2011.

Utilities

City administrator Steven Weaver said no other potential buyers have been able to find a profitable use for the rest of the land, which is zoned to prohibit the construction of any structures other than single-family homes.

"With some pressure from the neighborhood, the property was rezoned to A Residential District in December 2007," Weaver said this week in his report to the Riverton City Council. "The residents would rather see single-family housing rather than multifamily housing in their neighborhood."

He added that no utilities exist on the remaining lots.

"The developer will be required to run the water and sewer service lines in order to provide these utilities to each lot," Weaver said.

He explained that the utility situation contributed to the proposed purchase price of $90,000 from Umphlett Family LLC.

The lots originally were listed at $169,000 total, but that price was set when the Realtor thought utilities were available.

Price

Weaver said the developer plans to subdivide the lots into nine separate parcels.

"So it could appear we're selling these at $10,000 per lot," he said. "But once you add the price of what it will cost to get utilities to the property, the lots will be about $21,728 (each)."

The Soldiers Project paid about $23,000 for its plot, or almost $3 per foot. The proposal for the remaining parcel comes in at $1.19 per square foot.

Regardless, Weaver recommended the city accept the deal from the Umphlett group.

"These lots have been for sale two years, and this is the first real offer," he said. "We'll be better off to see houses in there instead of a vacant lot with weeds."

Councilman Rich Gard agreed, calling the offer "more than fair" based on the specifications of the lot.

"I think this is the very best thing that could happen," he said, adding, "I hope (the homes) fly off the market."

Split vote

Mayor Ron Warpness wasn't so sure, however. He said he would prefer to wait to see if a better proposal might come along.

"We've had this on the market for two years, but this is the first time it's come before the council and before the public," he said. "I'd like to give them the opportunity. If there's anyone out there even thinking about this, now is the time to step forward with an offer."

Gard didn't think it was likely that an interested buyer would approach the city in the next couple of weeks.

"We've had this out there for over two years," he said. "I'd make the case that the offer is not going to get any better the longer we wait."

Warpness said he would rather "take that chance." He voted against the sale, but he was overruled by the rest of the council.

Weaver said public services will connect to the developer's new water line to create a loop for service redundancy in the neighborhood.

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