Council votes 8-0 in favor of $250K property purchase, Casper’s first ever conservation easement
CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper City Council voted 8-0 on Tuesday in favor of authorizing the city to purchase property from the Charles E. Piersall Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America.
The agreement between the city and the local Izaak Walton League chapter also includes the city’s first ever conservation easement that will apply to most of the property at 4205 Fort Caspar Road. The conservation easement aims to ensure the property’s habitat, including riparian areas, are preserved into the future.
The city will pay $250,000 to the local Izaak Walton League chapter for property. The agreement also stipulates the city will conduct repairs and historical designation work to attempt to get the lodge at the property listed on the National Historic Register. The estimated costs for repairs and the designation work is $433,000 with the repairs to be conducted within a year of the purchase, according to a memo from city staff.
Money for the initial purchase will come from the city’s Water Fund and Capital Fund dollars will be used for the repair and historic designation costs.
The city will lease a portion of the property back to the Charles E. Piersall Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, according to the staff memo. For the first five years, the chapter would pay $1 in annual rent, rising to $24,000 annually for the second five years and $42,000 for the third five years.
The city has been leasing some of the property from the local Izaak Walton League chapter since 1954. It started leasing the property in order to establish two wells for drinking water and those wells continue to be important for drinking water in Casper, according to city staff.h
The acquisition of the property will also open up potential new opportunities with the Fort Caspar Museum. The city would not make changes to the property other than improvements to the services already there, Mayor Ray Pacheco said at the press conference.
The property buy could also support river restoration efforts in the area and ensure access to the North Platte in the area, Napier said at the press conference.
The Charles E. Piersall Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America was not looking to sell the property but became interested when city staff reached out with the idea of creating the conservation easement, Brian Connelly, the chapter’s president said at the press conference.
“This property was not for sale, but when the city contacted us with the idea of leaving a permanent conservation easement to protect invaluable riparian river habitat and valuable water resources for the city, for the community, for the people of Natrona County and indeed Wyoming, we thought, ‘Boom, this is a great legacy for such a great organization that has been around for so long,’” Connelly said.
The local Izaak Walton chapter celebrated its 97th anniversary on Saturday.