Following are the results of the survey regarding the idea of the Steilacoom school district buying the Abitibi site.
There are 26 responses so far. Some additional ideas are posted below. Have another idea, comment below or fill in the original survey (link above).
Turn the old Pioneer into a new community center. Use the left over money to reduce class size at Pioneer. Thirty students in a math class is ridiculous!
Look at only buying the upper protion of the Mill that connects with the current High School. That area is need for future growth of SHS – NOT for a bus barn or admin site. The board took years of strategic planning and threw it out the window 3 months prior to running the bond to build Pioneer. It just goes to show the lack of trust they have in our community members and the LONG TERM vision for our students. This plan took years to create from hundreds of all surrounding communities served by SHSD to implement. The current high school NEEDS to be completed with the remaining funds we have available – especially all sports facilities. What a novel idea to create a complex that can be used for sports, an outdoor classroom, shared and even rented out by other groups to create income all year round. The district has plenty of land in DuPont they can sell or swap for future buildings in that city or build a bus barn on. However, any costs to build a bus barn should come from a NEW bond that is passed by voters and NOT from the existing $5M we have left. Those funds should be spent 100% to finish the current needs – build the 4 extra classrooms at SHS, build new fields, install new furniture that is needed and give the students of the district what they need.
Partition the mill property to split into two sections: one 10 acre parcel for the school to buy and upon which to build their new facilities, the remainder to be held by current owner until such time it could be sold for development. While it is still up for sale, it should be paying taxes as usual.
Current owner gets immediate sale price for 10 acres and 12% reduced tax obligation.
School gets what they need without having to incur the burden of reselling remainder.
Steilacoom retains tax income and can sell the existing school barns and buildings for additional developement, which should create jobs and additional tax base.
Win Win WIN!!!
The Steilacoom school district is over 150 years old and still growing. As the school district grows more land will be needed for schools and other facilities so if the land is available and the district has the funds they should buy the Abitibi property. The land not needed or unsuitable for school use could be sold for development and that would produce tax revenue for the town.
The present bus barn area was once a basketball court and could be returned to that use. That court is right across the street from the old Pioneer gym. The kids always need a safe place to gather and have fun.
The School District should not be in the property development or speculation business. They should make necessary improvements to the current buildings to create facilities we can all be proud of and that meet our needs for the next 10 years. We have capacity in our school dist for future growth so do not buy land and build schools that we don’t need. Other districts are closing schools. Stop putting band aids on problems. Fix them the right way so they last. Provide maintenace to take care of what we have so they don’t “rot away” the way they have in the past. Put the bus barn on the 30 acres of industrial land in Dupont we already own. Make the bus contractor pay for part of the improvements to support their business.
Purchase the Abitibi site and return the area to its natural state to promote wildlife habitat adjacent to Chambers Bay. Consider a trail from this site to town. Promote non motorized recreation use with such amenities as a kayak launch site and/or bike and walking trails. Because of the unremitting loss of natural areas and the ecosystems they support, this would create an asset for Steilacoom that will well serve the area’s future more than any of the above suggestions.
Bond money should only be spent for it’s original purpose. New Pioneer Middle School and upgrade and additions to the High School. A new levy should be put up for a vote to spend the money on anything else.
I like the idea of moving to the vacant area. The existing school owned land should be redeveloped and made for creative use…perhaps comercial?
Get the buses out of the downtown housing area of Steilacoom. Air quality has been the pits for years, especially during winter when inversion layers keep diesel fumes low to the ground. They are endangering the health of good tax paying citizens! The buses do not belong in a housing community.
Good, usable, workable land is a fleeting commodity. It is available now, but it may NOT be available later. If it can be purchased now, perhaps it is the time to buy, build the administration building and bus barn and sell the remaining property for development. The recouped costs may be more than the original purchase price.
School district property does not pay property tax. Therefore, school district purchase of Abitibi’s 83 acres would remove the land from tax rolls and reduce revenue for both Steilacoom and the school district.
Abitibi land is zoned industrial and the Town of Steilacoom needs revenue from large commercial businesses. The town does not need added costs of providing utilities, streets, schools and staffing for all that…for 83 acres of land zoned residential and developed as housing.
Presently, we live in Tacoma; however, when we owned a flower shop (Love Me Now Floral Design) in Steilacoom, lived in Lakewood, and served on the Steilacoom Chamber of Commerce board, I wrote a comprehensive proposal for the use of the former Abitibi Consolidated property, and submitted it to the Town of Steilacoom council. I never received any response to it from the council. I will resubmit it — to The Suburban Times — for consideration by the public. The notion of the school district purchasing the property is sheer folly (IMHO); that is a premium piece of real estate with tremendously valuable potential and it would be a waste of a resource to parcel it out and/or to use it for a non-tax-paying entity such as the school district headquarters.
The district should build a new admin office on the land behind Cherrydale that the Town is using, why put an admin office or a bus barn on view property? The district owns 30 acres on the Dupont/Steilacoom Hwy. This property is made up of mostly 2 acre parcels. Put the bus barn there and sell the rest. The District should sell all the land where the existing Admin, bus barn, old Pioneer, Little yellow house and upper ball field. The district is not being realistic on selling land that is being used and a value to the community and the wanting to buy land that would make a great hotel with a restraunt on top near the new golf course.
I would like to see some envronmental group obtain the property, clean it up and get it back to something natural with some trails etc. Or a nature preserve/reserve. A few months ago I found a beaver that had been hit by a car on Chambers Bay Road near the old mill. So I am sure there is a lot of wildlife in the area. Eagles, comorants, deer etc. are spotted constantly in the area. Could the fish hatchery be expanded into the mill area and could the springs be restored? Did they once produce salmon? I do not know the history of the area. The new administration is talking about green jobs I am sure they could creat a few on a project for that area. The Federal Government could spend 6 million to purchase the land and some more of the stimulus money to build a park with out buildings and facilities for camping or other activities.