Council Corner

School soccer field less than certain

The Sumner School District's proposal to sell a parcel of forested land adjoining the Bonney Lake Elementary School property and use the proceeds to build a soccer field has run into a few snags. What looked at first like a slam-dunk turned into a tough three-point shot during the ouncil workshop on Nov. 18.

Councilwoman Cheryle Noble, who lives near the school, raised concerns about chopping down the trees and selling a part of the land to developers.

"My reservations are that it's a forested area and if at all possible I'd like to be able to have the soccer field and not develop the area," Noble said. "I'd like to see it left as a natural setting, maybe a portion of it turned into a park."

Councilman Dave King noted that although he would like to see another soccer field in the community, the school selling a portion of the land to developers may not be the best use for the community.

Complicating the issue is the school district's plan to sell land adjoining Lakeridge Junior High to housing developers. The Pierce County Council approved rezoning, which would permit the sale, on Nov. 18.

"That is a problem," Deputy Mayor Dan Swatman said. "If we're doing it at Lakeridge, why not at the other school. It's up in the air right now concerning the Bonney Lake Elementary School. There's an overall concern with growth in the neighborhood. Anytime you propose to clear-cut a forest, even a small one, and put in homes it doesn't bode well."

More on this issue is expected at the next City Council meeting.

New City Hall -

not yet in plans

Plans for a new city hall building have been placed on the back burner in terms of the budget, at least until the council retreat early next year.

In the preliminary 2004 budget, Mayor Bob Young earmarked $3.1 million as a Municipal Capital Improvement Fund. The City Council told Finance Director John Weidenfeller to move the funds out of the MCIF classification since there are presently no plans to build a new city hall.

Councilman Dave King noted that three previous proposals have been rejected and a new proposal for a city hall that would encompass a town hall center will be difficult to fund. "We'll have to look at what a city hall should look like in 20 years. Should it be a combined city hall and civic center, a gathering place for citizens? I don't know if that's a valid option for the city."

According to Weidenfeller, the surplus money is "savings from the general fund, money not spent. The mayor is very strict on money. He doesn't let people spend money."

Swatman stated, "I think the people need to be well informed and vote on a community center/city hall idea. I have some problems with the way it is trying to be funded. They call that $3.1 million a savings from over the years. I call it overcharging."

The next scheduled City Council meeting is at 7 p.m. Nov. 25.

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