Port Townsend panel to consider terms of Mountain View Commons lease
By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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The lease of the former Mountain View School campus, which the city pays $68,178 a year to the Port Townsend School District to use, expires in 2014.
A quorum of each of the entities discussed the future of the agreement at a joint meeting Monday night.
City Manager David Timmons said several repairs needed on the public facility at 1925 Blaine St., specifically to the heating and ventilation systems, have been postponed because of a lack of money.
The city is researching two grants from the state departments of Ecology and Commerce to replace the heating systems, but it does not qualify for the grants under the condition of the existing lease, Timmons said.
The timing of the committee meetings will depend on the grant application schedule, Timmons said after the meeting.
“We would like to get this going in the next month,” Timmons said.
“If the grant deadlines are not immediate, then we will have a little more time.”
School Superintendent David Engle said he expected that any new lease would be for a minimum of 10 years and have financial terms that are roughly the same as the present lease.
The facility 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 ReCyclery, 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 which is to reopen Friday after being closed for repair.
Timmons said the facility is at capacity in its current design but after some renovations could house additional agencies such as additional nonprofit agencies or state Fish and Wildlife.
Aside from Mountain View, the two boards discussed the possibility of future partnerships but spent much of the two-hour meeting getting acquainted.
“This is the first time that I know of where the City Council and the School Board sat down and discussed the issues,” School Board member Bill LeMaster said.
“I've been wanting to get together with the city and the county for a while,” Engle said.
“A lot of what we are doing is overlapping, and we need to work cooperatively.”
One potential area of collaboration has to do with encouraging students to walk or bike to school rather than ride the bus or be driven by their parents.
The city will support the idea with the construction of new sidewalks in the Grant Street Elementary area, while the schools can encourage the practice by building on-site shelters for students who ride their bike, they agreed.
Engle said about 5 percent of the district's students walk or bike to school, a number he'd like to double.
“There is the idea that kids are safer if they the bus or if their parents drive them right to the door,” Engle said.
“But by doing that, you impact kids' future health and their sense of community.”
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at email@example.com.
Last modified: March 12. 2013 5:57PM