NORWALK – In an attempt to send a strong signal to the United States Air Force and the General Services Agency, Norwalk City Council unanimously agreed to set aside $3 million of the former Norwalk Redevelopment Agency’s Bond proceeds for the purchase of the remaining 36 acres of the tank farm.
The former Defense Fuel Support Point, also commonly known as the Tank Farm, is owned by the Air Force which previously used the site to store jet fuel. The site was closed in 2001 and the tanks demolished in 2011.
The site is located at 15306 Norwalk Blvd.
According to Community Development Director Michael Garcia, the money will serve as a sign to the Air Force and GSA that Norwalk is “committed to working directly with them in a cooperative fashion.”
“We’re happy to work with them and work with our Congresswoman [Linda Sanchez] to take the 15 acres adjacent to Holifield Park, and we’d like to see if the $3 million will send the proper signal to the Air Force and to the Federal Government that we would like to continue our effort and almost serve as a development option to try and secure the remainder of the property,” said Garcia.
The 15 acres that Garcia was referring to was formally transferred to the city via deed recordation in August of this year through the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014.
Careful to not alarm residents, Councilman Leonard Shryock made sure that Garcia clarified that the city was not “just giving out $3 million.”
“This would be one way that we could utilize the 2005 tax allocation bonds, to set aside $3 million to signal the Federal Government that we are committed to try to find a development partner who will come in at fair market value potentially to buy the property, clean it, and put it to a future use,” explained Garcia. “It cannot be utilized for school, or housing purposes, and there are other restrictions on it.”
“We would need to enter into an agreement with a developer so that they can begin to do assessment, and the $3 million I think would send a good signal that the city is very serious about trying to bring to them a development partner that will work with us and with them to try to put that property back to good use.”
The final approval came via a unanimous 4-0 vote, with Vice Mayor Margarita Rios abstaining.