About 200 people streamed into the Gibraltar Fire Department’s truck bays Wednesday evening to hear details of the town’s new plan to buy 118 acres of land known as the Redmann property and vote on the $1.5 million purchase.
After town administrator Travis Thyssen assured those in attendance that the purchase will not cost taxpayers a dime and will be paid for with grants and donations, 124 residents voted yes, and 34 voted no.
“It only took 15 years,” said town chair Steve Sohns after the tally was announced. Sohns has been on the town board for all of that time, during which the town has investigated several options to buy the property. Most notably, the town had an offer for $2.15 million for 195 acres voted down in 2019. In that case the town had muddied the waters with a range of proposals for the property, but this time the proposal was simple.
“This cannot be purchased with anything but grants and donations,” Thyssen said. That’s part of the purchase agreement. And once purchased, the land can only be used to expand Fish Creek Park, watershed preservation, trails and as part of a wider multi-community connectivity trail, Thyssen said. There are no other development plans or options for the property.
Thyssen said the town has secured a little more than $600,000 in grants for the purchase already, and has three more proposals in the works that they are confident they of securing. If those don’t come through, seller Marise Redmann has given the town five years to come up with the funds through other grants or donations.
“We have spoken to community members who have expressed willingness to help us close the gap with donations if it comes to that,” Thyssen said.
The agreement also includes the donation of 6.2 more acres to the park.