Port Townsend reduces Mountain View Commons lease proposal to 15-year term
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KPTZ-FM volunteer Steve Oakford logs tape at the station Tuesday. The three-year old community station is one of several nonprofit tenants at the Mountain View Campus. Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The City Council has scaled down a proposed agreement for the city’s renewal of the lease of the Mountain View Commons property from the Port Townsend School District.

The council agreed Monday to propose a 15-year agreement rather than the 35-year term that was discussed in late 2013.

The present lease for the complex at 1919 Blaine St. — for which the city pays $68,178 a year — expires this year.

“We don’t have the money to make the extended commitment,” City Manager David Timmons said.

“It would cost us an additional
$3 million to do everything that we would need to do over time.

“For the work we need to do over a 15-year term, we feel that we can raise the $2.6 million — although we will need to establish some partnerships to make that work,” Timmons added.

The council unanimously authorized Timmons to begin work on the scaled-down project, which would include roof repair and boiler replacement.

“We’d like to get this done over the summer,” he said of the pending repairs.

Timmons said $800,000 toward the $2.6 million needed for the initial repairs could be covered by grant money.

The rest — $1.8 million — could be covered by a general obligation bond, he said.

The loan service on the remaining amount — annual payments of about $160,000 — could come from public safety property tax money now allocated to support parks and recreation.

The city’s commitment with Jefferson County to provide funds for Memorial Field and the Port Townsend Community Center expires in June 2015.

A loan might not be needed if the city manages to get a “partnership commitment” that would decrease the shortfall, Timmons said.

“If the food bank knows that it will have the space for another 15 years, maybe it will commit to providing some improvements, but if the YMCA decides to build its own facility down the road, that will affect any partnership,” Timmons said.

If no loan is taken out, then the council may consider asking taxpayers for help on the November ballot, he added.

The previously proposed 35-year agreement, which had an optional 15-year extension, would maintain the same rent with a small consumer price index adjustment.

It included an agreement from the school district to refrain from collecting the annual rent during a loan payback period — expected to be between 12 and 15 years.

The 15-year commitment would include a renewal term at the city’s option.

“If we can find the additional $3 million somewhere, we can extend the lease,” Timmons said.

Timmons said city and school district officials plan to meet in the next few days, adding that he “sees no obstacles” in approving the lease.

Port Townsend Schools Superintendent David Engle said Tuesday he was “comfortable” with the shorter lease and the option to extend it.

The new heating system will pay for itself in 8.6 years, Timmons said.

The Mountain View complex once was an elementary school. That was closed in 2009, then leased to the city to house the police station and other nonprofits.

It has grown to include the Port Townsend Food Bank, YMCA, municipal pool, Jefferson County office of the American Red Cross of the Olympic Peninsula, KPTZ-91.9 FM radio station, Working Image and the ReCyclery.

It has also served as the temporary home of the Port Townsend Library, which is expected to move back into the Carnegie location in June, Timmons said.

At that time, the library space could be taken over by the YMCA.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: April 29. 2014 7:22PM
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