Mountain View Commons lease to be discussed Monday
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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The two entities will talk about a new lease at a joint meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday in council chambers at City Hall, 540 Water St.
The facility at 1925 Blaine St. was operated as an elementary school from 1963 to 2009 before the school district closed it and leased the campus to the city as the site of a new police station and other offices.
Mountain View Commons also houses the Port Townsend Food Bank, the YMCA, Working Image, KPTZ-91.9 FM radio, the temporary site of the Port Townsend Library — which is under renovation — and the municipal pool.
The city pool is scheduled to reopen next Friday, March 15, after five months' worth of repairs will be completed.
City Manager David Timmons said that the informal meeting Monday will open discussions about what each party expects from the partnership and how to proceed.
First and foremost, the present five-year lease, s signed in 2009 with the city paying the school $60,000 per year, should be renegotiated into something that is more long-term, both sides say.
“Mountain View is central for us,” Timmons said. “But in order to make some of the needed repairs, we need to resolve some issues.”
Once a lease is renegotiated, it will be easier to get grants for building renovation, estimated to cost about $3 million, Timmons said.
Port Townsend School Superintendent David Engle said the terms of the lease would be for at least 10 years but that he has heard of leases in similar situations that go up to 50 years.
Timmons said an extended lease would help secure grants to fund such repairs as a new heating and ventilation system.
While this probably would require a cash investment, a more efficient system would result in energy cost savings that would save the city money, Timmons said.
Engle said he expected the amount the city pays the school district “to be in the same neighborhood” as the current agreement.
Both sides say the negotiation will center around in-kind services the city supplies for the school district.
These services include a school resource officer on loan from the Police Department and the development of programs that benefit the community at large, Engle said.
“Mountain View is a place where we can offer pro-family, pro-youth programs,” Engle said, such as a kitchen where nutrition and food service management is taught.
Neither side expects a change in ownership for the building, which is not on property tax rolls and has not been individually valued, according to the Jefferson County Assessor's Office.
Both Engle and Timmons said the Mountain View partnership has been successful so far.
“It's worked well for the police and the nonprofits,” Timmons said.
“Many of the activities there go beyond what's in the city and benefit the entire county.”
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last modified: March 07. 2013 5:49PM