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Csd: Surplus Land Decision Due Soon

MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE -- Central School District owns several properties inside and out of Monmouth and Independence that aren't being utilized, some since the early 2000s.

MONMOUTH/INDEPENDENCE -- Central School District owns several properties inside and out of Monmouth and Independence that aren't being utilized, some since the early 2000s.

How best to use that land -- for long-range facilities development or short-term revenue -- will be the subject of a vote by the Central School Board in the near future.

Community members, part of a facilities workgroup, have recommended that the district hold onto its properties until the economy recovers, consider their use for future enrollment and seek short-term leasing opportunities.

"Rent all of it," opined Mike Ainsworth, a workgroup member, at a recent meeting. "Maximize your cash flow."

Most of the properties were appraised in 2006, Business Manager Mary Knigge said. They include:

* Oak Grove Elementary School, which sits on 11.59 acres near West Salem. The district shut down the school in 2003, but has been limited in the ability to sell it; a transfer of deed from the previous owner deems that land usable only for educational purposes. Value: $302,000 to $322,000.

* Eola Alternative School, located on 1.7 acres on Shaw Boulevard off Highway 22. The district authorized the sale of the school -- which also closed in 2003 -- two years ago, but has held off recently because of the poor real estate market. It's currently rented by a church. Value: $242,000 to $261,000.

* The teen center near the intersection of Monmouth and 16th streets. The building on the 1.36-acre site was closed due to budget cuts last year. Value: $820,000.

* District Offices, also located at the above corner, is still being used. Value: $420,000 in 2006.

* The 16th Street property, adjacent to Talmadge Middle School, may be the most key of the district's holdings. No official appraisal has been done on the 16.5-acre property. But a district estimate based on commercial zoning rates for 2006 instead of the current public institution designation puts it at $7.8 million.

At a meeting last week, the facilities workgroup balked at that amount, calling it "Portland prices." Still, there was interest in selling the land when the market recovers for the right price, and using at least some of the proceeds for operating costs.

"When you're dealing with the potential of losing four or five classes (because of proposed state funding cuts), you've got to look at that," said Eric Olsen, a facilities workgroup member.

Superintendent Joseph Hunter said there's been inquiries about the administrative office and teen center land, which are in key commercial locations.

The committee also recommended Central seek an additional conditional-use permit to keep eight portable classrooms on the Central High campus beyond 2012. Relocating the units to other school sites would cost $40,000, while sales would only range from $5,000 to $20,000, Hunter said.

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