The Chadron City Council has decided not to pursue the purchase of the old state Department of Transportation yard complex on Maple between 6th and 8th Streets.
The complex has been vacant since the department moved to its new Chadron home on Stockade Road just west of Greenwood Cemetery.
The move is one of the problems cited by the council in passing on the property. The land is zoned residential and while the yard complex was grandfathered-in, that status expired 6 months after the move to the new location.
While some of the buildings could have become a new and larger shop building for the city, it would require rezoning to commercial and such spot-zoning isn’t allowed.
The nearest commercially-zone land is about 2 blocks to the northeast of the part of the yard on the west side Maple State that held the storage yard and salt building.
A potentially bigger and more expensive problem is that the existing buildings may contain asbestos, which would be expensive to remove, while much of the land may be contaminated by oil, gas, and cleaning chemicals after decades of use.
Even just testing for contamination is estimated at $20-to-$30,000 while remediation costs could be 10 times or more of that. If the city were to own the land, it would be responsible for those costs, although grants to help might be available.
The appraisal price of the 3 lots making up the old state complex is $362,000 but even with Department of Roads officials strongly hinting the land was available for far less, the city council members felt the economics just didn’t work out.