TROY — The city of Troy’s Board of Park Commissioners tabled a recommendation to transfer 5.05-acre Campbell Park and 3.2-acre Hook Park to the Troy City Schools for further discussion between the board, the city and Troy City Schools.
The park board met on Tuesday at City Hall. Director of public service and safety Patrick Titterington presented the request to give the school district the park land with the agreement the schools will replace four baseball field/backstops and possibly add two more to other sites outside of the city limits if its bond issue passes on March 17.
President of the park board Alan Kappers said the proposal is “a severe departure” from the “primary” option discussed, which included the park board to receive vacated land from Heywood and Kyle sites in return for the transfer of Hook and Cookson park land sites.
“… I don’t see any trade here,” Kappers told Titterington.
Superintendent Chris Piper and board president Tom Kleptz were in attendance. Piper said the schools always had a good working relationship with the city and park board.
“When it comes to the three sites being Van Cleve, Kyle and Heywood, we are trying to be good partners with the community — between the city, between the park board and we all have the same goal of providing recreation spaces for our kids, but especially the whole community. It is still our intention to do that,” Piper said. “We are trying to work with the city with options that make sense to the community for those other site. I don’t know if those possibilities will pan out and if not, those buildings will come down and become green space. We are just trying to work with all parties to make sure the spaces are used appropriately. We know the ball park is an issue, we get that, that’s why we added them to the plans … plans are fluid, but it’s our intention that all facilities and sites are good community use, especially for kids.”
Kappers said the park transfer as presented failed to provide assurance the land would be used for ball fields and he was concerned the park board would lose control of neighborhood parks and other provisions. Kappers said he only believes what he sees in writing.
“It would seem to me that we are not in a position to recommend this to council until such time there’s a definitive agreement as to what happens and I’m still looking for the trade in properties … (Titterington) said it was an option — I thought it was the primary option with a trade for Heywood and Kyle in exchange for these neighborhood parks,” Kappers said.
Titterington said the cost to demo and turn land into green space was unknown, use agreements and conditions could be added to the agreement with the schools. Kappers said he was interested in the agreement for the park board to receive the land vacated by the schools with all site and environmental work performed. Titterington said that was only one of many options discussed.
Board members Jordan Emerick and Susan Westfall said they didn’t see an issue with the presented proposal, but agreed to table the proposal to allow for more time for further discussion.
• Treasurer Jeff Price provided an update regarding the district’s five-year fiscal forecast. Price said general property taxes have increased due to the recent county assessment updates. Price also said income tax is up 3.4 percent compared to one year ago. Price said utility rates and purchase services have also trended into more cost savings for the district. Price also noted medical claims are trending lower than anticipated so far in the fiscal year, which ends June 30. Price will update the district’s five-year forecast and submit it to the Ohio Department of Education.
• Heywood Elementary School presented its social emotional learning program and its student ambassador program. Counselor Lynn Williams shared how the school uses puppets and repetition to enforce self-regulation and character building. Heywood ambassadors are students who assist staff during open houses and greet visitors and serve as role models for the school. Student ambassadors also help new students transition and learn about the school. Ambassadors interview new students and share their favorite subjects. The ambassadors share the information over school announcements and help students have a place to sit at lunch and at recess.
• A community meeting regarding the district’s plan for new schools and its bond issue will be held at Heywood Elementary at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org
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