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The Suburbanite
  • Canton wants to buy land to protect aquifer

  • The city wants to buy a 44.5-acre parcel and the mineral rights that go with it to protect a city aquifer from gas and oil drilling.

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  • The city wants to buy a 44.5-acre parcel and the mineral rights that go with it to protect a city aquifer from gas and oil drilling.
    The land, owned by Diano Realty Corp. is between 25th and 30th streets NE, east of the Canton Service Center and the city’s northeast water well field. The city will buy the land for $437,000 from the water works operating fund and sanitary sewer fund.
    Service Director Warren Price said the city wants to protect the aquifer given the anticipated boom in oil and gas drilling.
    “With the mineral rights in play it is a chance to protect our northeast water well from any drilling right next door,” Price said prior to the council meeting Monday. “That’s first and foremost.”
    Mayor William J. Healy II wants council to take it a step further and pass an ordinance to protect the water well field. The city will have the option to buy an additional 4.15 acres
    The city will use it to store materials and equipment and to dispose of clean fill. Contractors associated with Diano have been using the area for the same purpose.
    Diano Realty reduced the price by “donating” 5 percent of the property value, or $23,000. The land and mineral rights were appraised at $11,000 an acre.
    The Arthur J. Cirelli Service Center is home to the city’s engineering, parks, streets, sanitary and motor vehicles departments, as well as the police canine training unit and two salt domes. The Canton Collections Systems Department is adjacent to the Service Center.
    Price said the land is divided into several lots. There are also some dedicated streets. The land was platted decades ago for a residential allotment, Price said, but the idea never materialized.
    City officials reached out to Diano Realty a year and a half ago to begin discussing a sale.
    Price said that in addition to using the land to dispose of clean fill, the city will reserve a portion of it for a possible expansion of the Service Center, Collections Systems Department and First Tee of Canton, 2525 25th St. NE. The Diano land abuts the back of the First Tee property. Price said there are no plans for expansion at this time.