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Santa Rosa takes first step toward selling property used by food pantry

  • Jeanne-Marie Jones hands out bags of food to those in need as the volunteer executive director of the FISH food pantry in Santa Rosa. (JOHN BURGESS / The Press Democrat)

Santa Rosa on Tuesday declared the building used by food pantry Friends in Service Here as surplus property, the first step toward selling the aging 2,400-square-foot structure.

The 1930s-era fire station at 1055 Benton St. has been used by the nonprofit group known as FISH rent-free since 1995. The city pays about $4,000 a year in utilities for the building.

Last year, the all-volunteer group distributed more than 580,000 pounds of food to nearly 64,000 people in 16,000 households.

But the city has determined that it would take upward of $350,000 to make various repairs, including upgrades to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The city hopes to have the building vacant by the end of the year. The last appraisal for the property was conducted in 2009 and valued the property at $480,000.

The city has given the group several extensions to find a new home. FISH officials say they are actively looking for one, but they have yet to find a suitable location.

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