Although the Hayden School District has agreed to sell to the town of Hayden 1.14 acres at the corner of Breeze Basin Boulevard, Poplar Avenue and Third Street, the land still will be used as a play area by Hayden Valley Elementary students after the sale.
To ensure the land meets the school's needs as a recreation area, the Hayden Town Board has agreed to spend up to $32,000 for improvements in addition to the $54,600 it is paying for the property.
Despite the mixed opinions of town trustees, the Town Board agreed to incur the extra costs when it signed an intergovernmental agreement with the School Board on July 8, bringing the project cost to almost $400,000.
The town had agreed in earlier negotiations to pay about $20,000 for the construction of a circular drive at Hayden Valley Elementary School and $6,000 or $8,000 for fencing between the land and adjacent roads, but new requests from the School Board for culverts call for about $4,000 more, Town Manager Rob Straebel said.
"At least we have it down in writing, and we know what both parties want and agree on," Straebel said.
Several town trustees said they were skeptical about agreeing to the additional costs, but the importance of getting the project under way outweighed continuing the monetary dispute.
"Because (the negotiations) have taken so long, the consensus of the board was that the safety of the kids is worth the extra few thousand dollars," Trustee Lorraine Johnson said.
"I think the town can live with the added costs," Trustee Tim Frentress said.
"Any time when you're spending extra taxpayer money, there are issues," Trustee Joe Schminkey said. "But this is something that needed to be done, and that's the bottom line. You have to ask which is more important: $2,000 or $3,000 or public safety."
Fencing around the property, along with culverts in the Walker Ditch, were requested by the School Board to serve as safety measures for elementary school students who will once again use the land for recreation once the project is complete.
The cost breakdown, based on estimates from Civil Design Consultants, is as follows:
n $3,000 to reroute Walker Ditch and install 220 to 250 feet of 24-inch steel culvert in the ditch
n $1,000 to install a headgate box culvert that the school can use for lawn irrigation
n $6,000 to $8,000 to install a fence along the southern border of Breeze Basin and west border of Poplar Avenue
n $20,000 to construct a circular drive at Hayden Valley Elementary School.
The town will fund the project with almost $275,000 in energy impact funds and the town's own money, Straebel said.
Construction bids are due Friday, when a bid opening will begin at 2 p.m. at Town Hall. Straebel said the Town Board would decide at its Thursday night meeting when to hold a special meeting to award the bid.
Straebel said he anticipated contractors to break ground by Aug. 1 and for the project to be completed in October.
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