Kennewick land swap approved

Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldJanuary 22, 2014 

ksd kennewick school district city

The City of Kennewick and the Kennewick School District are discussing a possible exchange of property involving the old Kennewick School District Administration Building, pictured, at 524 S. Auburn St. in Kennewick, and the city's land that houses Roy Johnson Field at 210 W. 8th Ave.

HERALD FILE — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

The city of Kennewick traded a baseball field already used by Kennewick High School to the school district in exchange for the district's former administration building.

The Kennewick City Council and the Kennewick School Board unanimously approved the land swap this week.

The deal means the city gets the former school district administration building at 524 S. Auburn St. near City Hall. The school board declared the facility surplus in 2011.

The school district gets Roy Johnson Field, officially called the Babe Ruth Baseball Park, which comes with revenue of about $11,000 a year from a cell tower lease on the property.

Lisa Beaton, Kennewick's city attorney, said the district tried to sell the former administration building but couldn't find any buyers. The city was interested in the property for future growth of its municipal campus.

The baseball field at 210 W. Eighth Ave. has been leased to the district for ten years and is used as the Kennewick High School field, Beaton said.

The two properties are close to the same value, Beaton said. The former administration building property was appraised at $575,000, and the baseball field at $550,000.

The city and district will need to invest money into each property to better fit their individual needs, Beaton said.

The district will need to extend irrigation water since the city currently uses city water, she said.

Kennewick City Manager Marie Mosley said the school district wants to be able to use irrigation water and control the watering.

And the city will need to remove the former administration building, which has asbestos, Beaton said.

Mosley said it could cost the city as much as about $100,000 to raze the building.

The council and school board also unanimously approved a memorandum of agreement to clarify how irrigation will be handled at the baseball field. The city will provide part of the irrigation line needed by the school district.

The council and school board also unanimously approved assigning the city's interest in a cell tower at Roy Johnson Field to the school district. The cell tower is currently leased by NTCH-WA, Inc.

Dan Legard, the city's finance manager, said the revenue from the cell tower lease is used in the capital improvement budget for maintenance and projects at the baseball field. The loss of those dollars will not affect the general fund at all, he said.

-- Reporter Ty Beaver contributed to this report.

-- Kristi Pihl: 582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com

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