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Bonney Lake considers the future of the Reed property
The house on the Reed property presently sits unoccupied, but it probably won't stay that way for long, as several groups in town - as well as a handful of individuals - have inquired about using the 20-acre piece of land.
Bought in April 2010 for $1.4 million, the Reed property, located just outside city limits, was purchased by the city's water utility as an additional water source for the city.
But the city has no plans of developing the water right for at least 15 years, leaving the property, which contains a main house, several barns and a vast expanse of pasture land, in a state of limbo for the time being.
Before he retired, former Police Chief Mike Mitchell was living on the property, acting as a caretaker and performing some minor maintenance. But since his retirement, Mitchell no longer stays on the land and several others have asked what is happening.
Presently, the city's Public Works department uses one of the barns for storage purposes.
The Greater Bonney Lake Historical Society has inquired about using the house for storage and potential museum, as has the FFA and even an individual looking to live on the land and use the pastures.
Because of the interest, Mayor Neil Johnson at the Nov. 1 Council study session asked the council to develop a policy for use of the land.
"It would be nice if we could find a combination of uses," Johnson said Thursday, suggesting use of the pastures to farmers, storage for the historical society and potentially even leasing the house to a tenant.
"The key is how do you make that all work?" he asked.
But according to an Oct. 13 walk-through with building inspector Jerry Hight, the property needs more than $36,000 in work, including a roof replacement estimated at $25,000.
Johnson, and several members of the council, all said the key was protecting the investment for the utility ratepayers, since the property is officially owned by the city's water utility and not part of the general fund.
Councilmember Donn Lewis suggested getting a caretaker for the property while Councilmember Mark Hamilton agreed, saying it would be nice to find a group that could act as "stewards" of the property.
Councilmember Dan Decker also suggested using the property in three or four different ways, including a police gun range that Mitchell proposed for part of the land, as well as a museum for the historical society.
But Johnson said repairing the roof was critical to moving forward with any suggestions for the property and said he would need clear goals and instruction from the council before expending too much staff time on finding tenants and uses, though he said he didn't want the property to sit empty.
"I'd like to see it utilized," he said.
Councilmember Jim Rackley suggested the topic would be one to discuss early next year at the council retreat, which last year was conducted at the Reed Property. Rackley said the decision was too important to make quickly.
"Whatever direction we take is going to decide the future of that whole piece," he said.
Johnson agreed and said staff was starting to look at the details of exactly what needs to be done on the land.
"If it's not going to be leased, it would be great for meeting space," he said. "There's a lot of neat things that can be done out there."