City of Arlington moves forward on purchase of property

ARLINGTON — The city is finally moving forward with the purchase of a 137-acre stretch of land formerly used as a dairy farm.

Three years after receiving a grant from the Salmon Funding Recovery Board to fund the purchase of part what used to be Country Charm Dairy, the city is slated to make its first payment for the land.

The Arlington City Council got a chance to view a proposed payment for $285,500 during its Nov. 23 work session. Those funds, which would be reimbursed by the grant, would purchase about 40 acres of “buffer zone” situated between the property and the Stillaguamish River.

Once officially approved, the grant will reimburse the city for 85 percent of the cost, or $242,675, according to a memo from the city’s Community Development department.

The remaining $42,825 will be funded by the city.

“We’re nearing the completion of the grant process,” the memo states. “It was delayed as we were concurrently working on the purchase of the entire Graafstra Floodplain parcel.”

The city purchase of the dairy land, which was used by the Graafstra family to operate the dairy, has been in the works for the last few years, said Bill Blake, city of Arlington’s natural resource manager.

“This is step one,” Blake said. “(The grant is) federal money, so that’s why there’s a lot of red tape.”

Officials originally delayed the purchase of the property due to a boundary line adjustment separating the upland from the lowland.

According to officials, the upland portion of the land, which includes the Graafstra’s old barn, would be developed into a housing area, while the lowlands would be used as a recreation area.

The timeline of when the city would begin developing the area is unclear, Blake said.

The city plan would include a section for sports fields, an off-leash dog area, a swimming area and wetland/floodplain habitat area.

A number of trails would also run throughout the property.

“The Council is excited about it,” Blake said. “It is considered part of the down payment for the overall purchase.”

Blake said the city is hoping to have the rest of the property purchased by early 2010.

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