Fire district sells Freeland station to county

The t’s have been crossed and the i’s have been dotted on a real estate transaction between Island County and Fire District 3.

Island County Public Works purchased the old Freeland Fire Station on East Harbor Road from the fire district for $119,000.

The idea for the purchase was hatched several years ago between fire and county officials. Gary Hess, an engineer with Island County Public Works, brokered the project with Jan Smith, chief deputy at the sheriff’s office.

The hope is to move the South Precinct of the Island County Sheriff office to that location.

The South Precinct is currently in a strip mall off Main Street. Rent for those offices is $2,000 per month, and the East Harbor Road location is more centrally located.

“It is the county’s intention to move the South Precinct of the Sheriff’s office to that location sometime in the future,” said Mike Shelton, Island County Commissioner.

Shelton is not sure when that will happen because the county does not have the money right now to replace or remodel the structure.

Cost of a remodel has been estimated at $450,000.

“It is anticipated that our office will use the building site, but funding is such that it will likely be a number of years before we can utilize the facility,” said Jan Smith, spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.

“We do appreciate the efforts of the fire commissioners and chief, and of Bill Oakes, director of Island County Public Works, who have been responsible for making sure that the site will continue to be used for public safety,” Smith said.

The fire district posted “for sale” signs on three of its properties at about the same time in 2003. The sales, including the old Freeland station, didn’t generate much interest from the public.

However, two other mothballed stations, Saratoga and Bush Point, were sold to private parties.

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