The Fulton City Council approved a motion Tuesday night to consider purchasing the old rock barn and 12 acres at Fulton State Hospital.
The decision came after a series of appeals from local groups that support historic preservation, including a pledge from the Fulton Heritage Trust to pay $9,000 of the $18,000 purchase price being asked by the state.
Mayor LeRoy Benton explained to the council that the state legislature had approved a transfer of the property in question from the state to the city, but rejected proposals from the city to pay for the transaction through in-kind work at Fulton State Hospital.
"We've gone back and forth with the state, but they're not going to allow us to do in-kind. They want the $18,000," Benton said.
Dale Lewis, who is involved with both the heritage trust and the Fulton Historic Preservation Commission was the first to appeal to the council to consider the purchase.
Like Benton, Lewis said his groups had hoped initially that the state would consider either giving the property to the city - keeping in mind that the City of Fulton donated more than 500 acres and "a pretty good chunk of money" to the state for what is now the state hospital in the 1870s.
Lewis offered a series of potential uses for the land and the rock barn if the city were to proceed with buying the property, including turning the barn into an agricultural museum, using it as an alternative location for the local farmers' market, as a shelter for the nearby Stinson Creek Walking Trail or even as the home to a microbrewery.