If approved, the proposal would have allowed the district to enter into a brokerage agreement with Priscilla Terry of Prime Locations Inc. and list the property for $750,000.
District officials say the money is needed to help buy real estate for future school sites.
In addition, Superintendent Raj Manhas said the park has been a complex issue and that the district has spent too much staff time managing the park. He said there have been leases that haven’t been paid and scheduling issues that the district’s staff has had to deal with, even though the park is supposed to be managed by a separate organization.
“We are here to do everything we can for the community, but not at the cost of kids,” he said.
But the proposal to sell the park without restrictions on its future use drew sharp criticism from about 10 people who addressed the board during its public comment period. Most of them represented South Sound baseball and softball organizations; however, there was also a representative from a kennel club and a rugby group that use the sports complex at 425 Marvin Road, Olympia.
The proposal, which district officials hoped to adopt during the meeting, didn’t get far.
“I’m not sure I feel ready to pass this resolution,” said board member Laurie Davies.
She urged district officials to come up with an agreement that could keep the property as an athletic complex, possibly with the involvement of the City of Lacey, the Chamber of Commerce and sports organizations.
“Where’s the city in this discussion?” she said. “ I want the city and Chamber on notice that this is not the North Thurston School District saying ‘no’ to the community. We need that partnership.”
Kyle Dorsey, with South Sound Baseball, told the board that the district’s decision to sell the property was “absolutely wrong.”
“You’re just making a bad decision here,” he said. “ The park is a significant community asset.”
John Chinn of the Nisqually Kennel Club said the district needs to consider the various events that are already scheduled for the park, including his group’s annual dog show, before it puts the property on the market.
“It doesn’t seem like much — just one weekend a year — but that weekend (brings in) some $200,000 for the community,” he said.
District staff members said they would gather more information so that the board can discuss the issue again in a future work session.Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 firstname.lastname@example.org www.theolympian.com/edblog