Now that work on the new fire station in Monroe has begun, with the official groundbreaking ceremony to take place this evening at 6, the question of what to do with the town's current fire station/City Hall building has come to the front.
Council members said Thursday they believe the obvious answer would be to sell the building, which is owned by the town. However there may be an unusual tangle of red tape involving the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that may put off potential buyers of the property.
Years ago when the railroad lines running through Monroe were made obsolete and removed, ownership of that land reverted back to the DNR. Although the DNR has no use for the land now, nor has it in the past demonstrated any interest in cultivating this land, when the town approached the agency about acquiring the property, the DNR baulked, according to Monroe Attorney Jeremy Brown.
It wasn't a question of whether the DNR wanted the land, or had plans for the tiny strip of property running alongside Polk St., but more a standard of procedure. The DNR granted Monroe a permanent easement of the land, but no further action was taken.
Further details in today's print and e-editions.