On Monday, the Star Valley Town Hall was a shell of its former self. With boxes stacked against the walls, and pictures and posters removed, the stale, white interior hardly looked like a town building.
However, with the possibility of a move on the very near horizon, staff is busy cramming years’ worth of town history away. Where that history ends up is in the air. Currently, the town hall lease agreement is invalid after new owners took over the Star Vale Mobile Home Park March 19. The town now has until April 1 to enter into a new lease agreement with new owners, Kyle and Lanette Parker, or strike out on their own and purchase a building.
At a special council meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, the council will discuss its options.
The first is maintaining a lease with the Parkers, which includes an annual 10-percent cost of living increase effective April 1 on a five-year minimum lease agreement.
“This will provide the town with the peace of mind and legal reassurance to remain in its current facilities while it deals with the ever increasing work load associated with operating a municipality,” Kyle Parker said in an e-mail to town manager and attorney Tim Grier.
The Parkers became sole owners of Star Vale Mobile Home Park (also known as Terrace Homes Mobile Home Park), including the home of former owners Ray Lyons and Barbara Hartwell, and the Star Valley Town Hall at seven trustee sales March 19.
Following the trustee sales, all liens were eliminated and “as a result, the town is currently without any property rights to the town hall property,” said the Parkers’ attorney, Christopher J. Charles in an e-mail to Grier.
Charles said it is “critical” that the town enter into a new lease agreement with the Parkers as soon as possible. If the town is interested in purchasing the site, that could be discussed later.
If the town does not sign a lease, it could be forced to find a new home. Lyons and Hartwell were given five days to vacate their residence on March 19, after a lengthy legal battle with the Parkers.
The town’s second option is purchasing a building across the street from the current town hall formerly occupied by the Hellsgate Fire Department.
The one-half acre of land, at 3655 E. Highway 260, has ample parking and office space for town employees, Grier said.
Grier would not disclose how much seller Douglas daCosta was asking for the property, but said he would tell the council and public at the meeting.
If the council approves the acquisition, Grier said the town would have to find another place to hold public meetings, since the space is not large enough to handle a crowd. Gila County has offered the use of a county building in Payson and the Gila County Maintenance Yard for meetings, but Grier thinks the Lamplighter meeting hall is the best option. The Lamplighter has a stage, sound system and parking available and use of the facility is $50 a month.
In addition to purchasing the former Hellsgate building, Grier is asking the council for authorization to spend no more than $40,000 to renovate the space. Grier does not anticipate using much of the money, but wants to have it available should something need repair.
The March 30 meeting takes place at Town Hall, 3632 E. Highway 260.