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Newport eyes adjacent land for possible future city hall

The city of Newport is starting to acquire land to be set aside for a future City Hall building.

Two parcels, combined roughly a half-acre, on the Knauff site at 760 Sixth St., behind the existing City Hall building on Seventh Avenue, were part of a purchase agreement the City Council unanimously authorized last week.

Earlier this year, Cottage Grove resident Dave Sullivan received a conditional use permit to store high-end vehicles at the site as part of his new business, Imperial Recovery Services.

Sullivan has agreed to sell the two parcels to the city for $30,000, less than the Washington County assessor’s value of $51,600.

“The city has been eyeing (the site) for some time to acquire,” City Administrator Deb Hill said. “Whether or not they wanted to build a new City Hall there or if we were ever going to move, that would be very attractive for having additional land to any other business that would want to come in.”

The Knauff property was previously home to Bill’s Auto Salvage/Bill’s Auto Parts, a business that contaminated the soil. Before Sullivan can repave the lot or construct any impervious surfaces or structures, the site must be cleaned.

Hill said she has met with representatives of Veit Construction, who will conduct soil remediation on the property, and expects cleanup to begin the second week of September.

“To me it makes sense and it makes the whole property more valuable,” Mayor Tim Geraghty said.

Hill said that the city will dip into its Economic Development Authority fund to pay the $30,000 for the parcels, adding that the site will not be purchased until after it is cleaned later next month.