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Monroe School District tries to hit the brakes on Marshall Field worries

MONROE — A citizen group continues to press the school district in hopes of preventing a rezone and potential sale of an open space known as Marshall Field, but the district contends it has no immediate plans to sell.
The 12.4 acre lot off Columbia Street is being studied to allow multi-family
residential uses. The field is sited behind Frank Wagner Elementary and is used for soccer games and other community events.
Studying the local impacts housing might create here do not indicate plans to sell, said Jim Langston, school board president. He said the district may sell the property in the future, but at this time it’s just on a fact-finding mission. No developers have expressed interest in buying the property, and no assessed value has been determined by the district, he said.
“We have gone through the application process to rezone the property to potentially increase its value. If we decide to sell in the future, we want to have the option to sell it for its highest worth in order to maximize our resources,” Langston said.
The next steps for Marshall Field would be for the city’s planning commission to hold a public forum to discuss the rezone, which hasn’t been scheduled as of press time. The commission would then make a recommendation to the city and the city would once again open the issue to public comment.
The rezone calls for just under 300 housing units, per city documents. People have expressed concerns about the associated crowds and traffic that high density housing would create.
Another angle relates to the site’s former purpose as a commemoration for the city’s veterans.
Drew James, commander of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7511, spoke at a recent school board meeting. He said his goal is to “to keep a part of that field and build a proper monument for all the Veterans of Monroe.”
Krystal Dahl is a district parent who created a petition against multi-use housing on Marshall Field. The petition has 823 signatures so far.
She spoke at the meeting to encourage the board to use the property for other purposes, suggesting the field be used for school bus parking.
Randall Trivett encouraged the school board’s members to drive North Kelsey at 5 p.m. to imagine the impact of adding up to 300 homes nearby.
“This city is growing rapidly,” he said.
He reiterated a suggestion to build an aquatic center on Marshall Field. He said reusing the blueprints created for Snohomish Aquatic Center would save money.
“There’s no reason why we as a community cannot fund something along these lines,” Trivett said.   

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