Home base purchase sought for YCAT
A long-term goal is to transform the historic Hotel Del Sol in downtown Yuma into a transportation hub, but meanwhile, the regional bus system needs a home.
With that in mind, the Yuma County Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority (YCIPTA) board of directors authorized John Andoh, transit director, to negotiate the purchase of property at 2626 E. 14th St. It would be used as a transit maintenance, operations and administration facility.
In his report to the board, Andoh said the property would provide a base for Yuma County Area Transit (YCAT) bus operations.
He said the hotel renovations could take three to five years, when and if grant money is secured. “Until then, we need a home,” he told the Yuma Sun.
Currently, YCIPTA is located on the same street, about four buildings to the east. The present property costs $43,200 per year ($3,600 per month), with a probable lease price increase in July.
The cost is expected to go up because of property improvements and changes to the terms that make more of the property improvements the responsibility of the landlord, Andoh explained.
Ultimately, he said, owning a facility would be in the best interest of YCIPTA since it is not bound by property taxes. In addition, the transit authority would pay a one-time price for the property, instead of paying on a monthly basis.
Improvements could be paid with capital funds while maximizing local matches for other operational needs, Andoh added.
YCIPTA spent the past six months evaluating various properties in and out of the city and settled on this property in the unincorporated county. The 1.75-acre site has a 6,400-square-foot building with 20-foot ceilings. Developed and built in 1992, it has at least 40-45 years of useful life, Andoh said.
However, he noted, the property will require some renovations to make it suitable for transit use, including remodeling of the office space, paving the yard, constructing a wash bay, replacing the property fence with security gates and adding fuel tanks.
The property is capable of storing up to 42 transit buses. The current YCAT fleet is 28 vehicles. It has space for 21 employees to park and five visitor parking stalls.
Once a price is negotiated, Andoh said, he will request board approval to buy the property, pending agreement by the Federal Transit Administration and creation of a new FTA grant to fund the purchase at an 80 percent federal and 20 percent local match share.
Mara Knaub can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6856. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSMaraKnaub or on Twitter at @YSMaraKnaub.