Ravalli County Commissioners are considering an offer to purchase the Big Sky Baptist Church building located just north of the county administration building on S. 4th in Hamilton. Pastor Steve Clark approached the county with an offer to sell the building to the county for a good price if there was any interest. Commissioner Greg Chilcott worked with Clark and came up with a draft buy/sell agreement for $240,000.
At a meeting last Thursday, the potential deal was discussed publicly for the first time. Commissioner chair Jeff Burrows had the county attorney review the proposed buy/sell and Deputy County Attorney Howard Recht provided a few guidelines for consideration. First off the law requires that the county not pay more than the appraised value of the property. So an appraisal will have to be conducted and come in at or higher than the proposed $240,000 sale price. Clark is confident that it will.
The buy/sell also had a condition allowing the sellers to occupy the building after the signing of the buy sell for up to a year for free. Burrows said the law does not allow the county to rent space for free. They must get market value for renting space and allow other parties a chance to rent it.
Both parties seemed to think that the difficulties could be resolved. But the county will first have to have an appraisal done. A meeting was scheduled for February 6th at 9:00 a.m. to decide if the county will foot the bill for the appraisal.
Pastor Clark said that his congregation had outgrown the old church building especially in terms of parking. He said they are considering the purchase of a new, larger property on Kurtz Lane.
Burrows said the county was already looking for overflow room and had considered purchasing the Dowling Funeral Home, but it did not pan out. He said the Big Sky Baptist Church building was in good shape and located adjacent to the county’s administration building. Burrows said they could easily move some part of their operations over there without much work on the building.
Burrows said, “Given its location and price, it’s a reasonable investment.”