The paved cul-de-sac, utility boxes and wells that were put in to prepare for development seem out of place among the fields, Forterra vice president Michelle Connor said.
"The conversion of property in the middle of farmland jeopardizes the rest of the farmland around it," she
"It also fundamentally changes the nature of the city of Arlington from having farmland at its door to having a subdivision."
The Riverbend acreage belonged to the largest dairy in Arlington before it was divided up for development and then foreclosed.
The property was scheduled to be auctioned off when Forterra
inked a deal to buy it.
There's a lot of risk in taking on the property, Connor
Workers removed diesel and gasoline tanks buried in the ground to prepare for development.
The work wasn't properly documented so the state labeled the area as a brownfield, meaning it's a possible contamination site.
is working on getting that sorted out before selling to Albert, Connor
"No farmer could step into that, so Forterra
is kind of stepping into all the risk to protect this farmland," Connor
The organization's budget for acquiring the property and dealing with legal and environmental entanglements is $700,000, but that could go down as the organization works with the state to resolve concerns such as the brownfield designation.
also had help from government and conservation groups to cover the costs of wiping out development rights and securing the acreage as farmland.
Snohomish County Conservation Futures contributed $100,000, the Snohomish County Conservation District landed $50,000 from the Washington Conservation Commission
and the city of Arlington contributed about $15,000.
"It's a nice way to end the year, getting this property," Connor
"We feel really good about it.
It was a tough hill to climb, but it was worth it."
also is raising money to pay $30,000 in back taxes.
They'd like to sell Albert a farm "with a clean bill of health," Connor