School district might sell parks beloved by neighborhood
EVERETT — Residents of the Port Gardner Neighborhood have renewed their concerns over the futures of two parks currently owned by the Everett School District.
The district is discussing revising the decision timeline for their non-school property sites, including the future plans of the Doyle Park and Norton Avenue Ballfield properties.
The school board first looked at the option of selling these properties in 2009, but backed down after outcry from the community. The district hopes Everett will buy the north side parks, but the city said it would not before. It would be hard to fathom the city, which is going through budget cuts, would broach the topic favorably today.
After a $259 million bond failed to pass in April, the school district may extend its building modernization cycle from 40 years to 50 years, and would have to use more of its general fund budget toward building maintenance costs, among other implications.
These burdens may be lessened by selling extraneous property owned by the school district.
The district now might ask the board for property decisions this fall under tightened timelines, but board members pushed back, asking for a protracted timeline.
The district plans to seek public input on properties this month.
Port Gardner residents fear the decisions will make the park spaces vulnerable.
“This is a really tough decision and to get this all done by October, that’s just difficult,” board member Traci Mitchell said.
According to residents living in the neighborhoods surrounding the parks, children and dogs regularly use these areas to run around and get outside.
“More and more, kids are sitting inside and using handheld devices, so having a place where they can go and not sit for a while, that’s really valuable,” Christina Robertson, a Port Gardner resident, said.
Some of the other properties that remain on the decision list are the now-vacated school district administration building on Colby and a 103-year-old former school building near downtown.
No decisions regarding the future of the properties were made last week.