Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Person Field negotiations continue Thursday

Coeur d’Alene City Council and School Board Trustees will meet tomorrow to work out an agreement on the sale of the school district’s portion of Person Field. The city, which owns half of the field, is trying to acquire the other half in an effort to keep the field public green space. However, both sides have been unable to agree on terms of a deal. Thursday’s meeting will take place at 5 p.m. in the Community Room at the Public Library. The public is invited to attend. The meeting also will be televised on Channel 19.

* The meeting is workshop and not a public hearing. Those interested in providing comment can do so by emailing Emailed comments will be delivered to Council and the School Board. 

Person Field FAQs

Until the last City Council meeting, Person Field discussions were held in executive session. Why are they public now? Originally, there had been talk of the city purchasing an interest in a privately owned building with the school district and then trading that interest for the district’s portion of Person Field. That is no longer the case. Negotiations now involve a direct sale between two public entities. Therefore, the matter becomes public.

How much does the district’s portion cost? The city is being asked to pay $655,000 for the land.

Where did that price come from? The district's appraisal used commercial properties for comparable sales. The property is zoned R-12, which would allow up to 48 residential units on the property.

Why doesn’t the city pay the price? The city doesn’t believe that appraisal is fair value. It plans to leave Person Field as a public green space. With that use, the city feels $2 a square foot or about half of the $655,000 is a fair value for the property.

Can the district accept a price lower than the appraisal? Yes, according to Idaho Code, the school district can sell the property to the city for little or even no compensation.

What is the city willing to do? The district has not reduced the price, so the city has offered to pay the $655,000, but only if the district can provide the city with that full value. Since the city feels the land is worth only half that price, it is asking the district to make up the gap in value by providing increased use of the district’s gymnasiums, allowing the city to retain the Sky Hawk recreational program and giving the city the dog park at Northshire Park.

Will there be any action at Thursday’s meeting? There could be formal action at the meeting. It will depend on whether both sides come to an agreement.