Larkin funds purchase of land for fire station
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Saturday, Mar. 01, 2014

Larkin funds purchase of land for fire station

It was September 2007, and the plans were breathtaking: Developers wanted to build the largest mixed-use development in the history of Statesville.

Plans called for more than 3,000 homes, a hotel, 1 million square feet of retail space, 250,000 square feet of offices and a wellness center, all on 900 acres near the east side of Interstate 77 between exits 45 and 49.

In the middle of a booming economy, the city assumed the project was going to take off. They approved the needed zoning, annexed some of the 900 acres not located in Statesville and began making plans to provide municipal services for the project, including fire and police.

Seven years later, after a brutal recession, not one shovelful of dirt has been moved for the project, but developers have faithfully fulfilled one part of the zoning agreement: donating $500,000 to the city for a future fire/police station on the south end of Statesville that could serve future Larkin development.

City council members were reminded of that commitment Feb. 17, when they unanimously approved spending $360,000 for the purchase of 3.7 acres near the intersection of Shelton Avenue and Amity Hill Road. The property, which opens up to both highways, would be used for the promised station.

“The funds being used for this settlement are coming from the money given to the city by the Larkin developers ... specifically, $125,000 annually for four years,” said Finance Director Lisa Salmon.

Officials from Larkin couldn’t be reached last week to comment on the status of the project.

According to Salmon, the initial zoning approved in 2007 called on Larkin to give the city up to 2 acres for the emergency station, at a price of $1 per acre. That was amended in June 2010, calling instead on Larkin to contribute $500,000 in four annual payments of $125,000 “to assist the city in acquiring property and/or constructing an emergency service center outside of the Larkin Project Boundary yet located in an area to service Larkin.”

Shortly thereafter the city identified the Shelton Avenue and Amity Hill Road property, which is primarily vacant, as a potential site for the fire station and began condemnation proceedings. With appraisals ranging from $210,000 to $453,500, attorneys for the city and the property owner, Darrell Bustle, reached a settlement price of $360,000.

Mayor Costi Kutteh praised Larkin’s contribution. “As we continue planning for the Highway 115 corridor, our ability to construct a replacement fire station will be of great benefit to all the citizens of Statesville. An increased police presence will clearly indicate our commitment to residents and businesses in the area.”

Dave Vieser is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Dave? Email him at davidvieser@gmail.com.

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