Carefree considers land purchase for court building

By Curtis Riggs | December 3, 2008

$850,000 for just under an acre
CAREFREE – Town council is looking for a new home for the Carefree Municipal Court.

Citing the inability to get an acceptable long-term lease in its current space in the Carefree Town Hall/Post Office, a plan was presented on Tuesday to buy a property just northwest of the Sundial, which could house the court – and eventually town hall.

Councilman Greg Gardner explained negotiations are in process to buy a piece of property (just under an acre), which already has a near-3,700-square-foot building on it.

Mayor Wayne Fulcher said the town will have to move fast to acquire the land, however, because the property owner wants to sell it by the end of the year. A special town council meeting will be held within the next week or so for further discussion of the pending real estate purchase.

Presiding Carefree Municipal Court Judge K.C. Skull commented that the lack of a long-term lease places the court in limbo from one month to the next.

Gardner said the seller is asking $850,000 for the land which has been appraised at $1,050,000.

Fulcher pointed out the property would work well for the town’s needs because it is a double lot and would have enough room for a new building and adequate parking. The present building on the property was built around 1960.

“The property is big enough to house the town hall and the court in the future,” he said. “It is attractive because it is big enough to accommodate both.”

Gardner is now approaching banks and other financial institutions to acquire the financing needed for the purchase.

Carefree Planning and Zoning Commission Vice Chairman Ron Clarke urged the council to go ahead with the purchase.

“This is a wonderful oppor-tunity to buy a piece of property the town could use,” he said.
Fulcher, who said the purchase of land can be discussed in a closed executive session, said town officials now need to look at financing options to “button this down” between now and the end of the year.

“We need to work the best deal we can in a difficult financing market,” he said. “When we have that put together we will set a meeting date and decide how we want to move ahead.”