Pasco schools consider turning houses over to city

PASCO — Two homes the Pasco School District would otherwise demolish may end up being offered to low- and moderate-income families by the city of Pasco.

The Pasco City Council discussed Monday an agreement with the district that would allow the city to use the homes in its Home Investment Partnership program.

The city receives funding annually from the federal Community Development Block Grant program for the program, which offers down payment assistance and housing rehabilitation.

The district plans to expand sports fields at Stevens Middle School where the houses currently are, said Rick White, city community and economic development director.

Transferring the buildings to the city would save the district the price of demolition, he said. And the district won't charge the city for the homes.

The city would move the homes to lots the city would purchase in east Pasco, then rehabilitate them before selling them to qualified families, he said.

Proceeds from the sale would go back to the Home Investment Partnership program to be used for other projects.

Moving the homes, purchasing the property and rehabilitating the structures would cost the city about 60 percent of the cost to build an entirely new residence, White said.

Councilwoman Rebecca Francik said the homes haven't outlived their useful life, they just happen to be in a poor location for the school district.

She said she was impressed that the city was working with the district to put the homes to better use.

"It seems like a thrifty repurposing of housing stock," Mayor Matt Watkins agreed.

The council will vote on the transfer at its Jan. 18 meeting.

Also Monday:

* The council considered dividing the second phase of proposed improvements in the northern Kurtzman Park neighborhood into two parts.

The city has about half of the rights of way needed to add curbs, sidewalks, gutters and streetlights in the proposed Local Improvement District, or LID, where property owners are assessed to pay for the changes, White said.

He suggested the city go forward with revised boundaries where the right of way has been obtained, and said staff would continue to work to obtain right of way for the portion north of Alton Street for a third phase.

Property owners had earlier told the council they were concerned about the cost of the assessments.

The improvements in the revised boundaries will cost about $605,000, and White told the council that $334,000 from the Community Development Block Grant program will help pay for the project.

A public hearing on the proposal will be held during the Jan. 18 meeting.

* Kristi Pihl: 509-582-1512; kpihl@tricityherald.com