Bidding for Fresno County’s old juvenile hall site, put up for sale by supervisors earlier this year, got the silent treatment Tuesday at the Fresno County Board of Supervisors meeting.
In February, Fresno County supervisors placed a minimum bid of $4.386 million on the land, which was double the amount staff had suggested for the nearly 12.6 acres near Ventura Avenue and Tenth Street.
The county received no written bids, so supervisors asked audience members if they had an opening bid check to present. Nobody stepped forward.
Determining their price was not right, supervisors then voted to use staff’s earlier recommended price of $2.193 million.
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“I still saw this as the high side by pricing it at the bare land cost,” said Robert Bash, Fresno County’s director of Internal Services.
The land will be available to potential bidders again later this summer during a supervisors meeting.
County staff believes the 1970s-era buildings would not be useful for a new buyer and would be demolished. The best use for the land, once it’s cleared, would be for apartment-type housing, county officials say.
The Fresno Housing Authority wrote a letter to the county saying it had no interest in buying the land, said Bash.
Juvenile hall was closed in 2006. Some offices on a second parcel south of juvenile hall are in use for county probation and general services employees. An appraiser’s report for the county said that the buildings have outlived their economic and useful life due to their age, condition, design and purpose.
The land was bought by the county for $7,000 in 1897; and the cost for the county to maintain the property last year was $140,543, county documents say.
Supervisor Debbie Poochigian said the new price was too low. The vote was 4-0 with Poochigian abstaining.
Supervisors want to use proceeds from the property sale to help pay for new county facilities, such as a sheriff’s substation in southeast Fresno and new offices for the district attorney.
In other discussion, supervisors voted to apply to the state for $1.5 million under the California Disaster Assistance Act to help reduce the effects of tree mortality in the foothills and mountains of eastern Fresno County. The county will put up a $500,000 match.
“Every little bit will help,” said David Pomaville, the county’s director of of Public Health. “It’s an initial request that’s part of the solution, but (if approved) it will keep us busy through the rest of the calendar year.”
He said tree mortality is a problem that will take several years to get under control, and he expects the county to make more funding requests through the California Disaster Assistance Act.
Fresno County officials estimate about $98 million is needed for dead-tree removal to protect county roadways and property. The county is focusing its efforts in the Shaver Lake area, Miramonte, Pinehurst and Meadow Lakes.
In addition to Fresno County, Cal Fire, Caltrans, U.S. Forest Service, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric are cutting down trees in the foothills and mountains. Also, local Firesafe councils have gotten grants paid from property assessments in the so-called State Responsibility Area.
Supervisors also approved an environmental document for the replacement of the Italian Bar Bridge in eastern Fresno County. The bridge, which separates Fresno from Madera County, is about 6 miles north of Jose Basin Road, north of Auberry, and about 55 miles northeast of Fresno.
The project, which will cost $7.64 million, is funded by the federal Highway Bridge Program.