But the districts proposed sale of the nearly 16-acre chunk of land, which is known as Bucknell Field, would create a huge loss for the community, according to Pat Bucknell, president of the Lacey Athletic Association.
The nonprofit holds the use agreement with the school district; however the park is managed by a separate enterprise.
The parks five fields are used by hundreds of youth and adult softball and baseball teams from across the region, as well as several South Sound soccer, rugby and football teams, Bucknell said. For example, in 2007, the park hosted 3,800 games, and served 180 softball teams and 120 baseball teams, he said.
Bucknell said hes worried a new owner wouldnt keep it as a ballpark. Weve got one of the only all-purpose fields thats privately (run) in the state of Washington, he said. ...All of that would be lost to the community. In addition, the sale would break a 20-year lease agreement that Bucknell said district officials signed in 2000, when the park association was granted $30,000 for field improvements from the state Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation.
Were maintaining that use agreement, which was signed in November 2000, goes through October 2020, Bucknell said. Now all of a sudden the school district is claiming that the use agreement is null and void.
North Thurston Public Schools spokeswoman Courtney Schrieve said the district receives $2,500 a month in rent from the park operators. She described the relationship as a month-to-month agreement. She said the organization defaulted on a lease that was signed in 2008.
She said the district wants to sell the property so that it can better address future growth in the district.
Its not really suitable for a school because its so small, Schrieve said. Its a matter of the district needing to purchase other, more viable school properties.
Still, district officials understand the impact a sale of the property would have on the community, she said.
Were hoping someone would purchase it and continue operating it as a ballpark, Schrieve added.
If the brokerage agreement is approved, the property could be listed on the market for $750,000, according to materials provided to the board.
NTSB meeting The meeting, which is open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. at the John W. Gott Administrative Center, 305 College St. NE, Lacey. For more information, call 360-412-4418.
Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/edblog @Lisa_Pemberton