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Space behind Hayden Meadows to be sold

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | August 30, 2020 1:00 AM

HAYDEN — The 10-acre parcel behind Hayden Meadows Elementary that has been used as soccer fields for at least 30 years is going to be sold.

The Coeur d'Alene School District, which owns the property, announced its plans earlier this summer to put the land out for bid.

"This was on the agenda for three consecutive meetings this summer, for June, July and August," district spokesman Scott Maben said Friday.

The school board twice debated it, he said.

"There was open discussion about it," Maben said. "It’s a little surprising that this is catching anyone off guard because we’ve been open about the whole process. This has been an ongoing conversation for a long time."

And yet, some community members are now taking notice and mourning the loss of another open green space in North Idaho, where developments are continuously springing up.

Matt Ruchti, director of competition for the Timbers-Thorns North Football Club, which rents the fields from the district and has used the space for more than 30 years, said he understands the need to sell the property; he just wishes it didn't have to happen so soon.

"We've heard those rumors throughout time. It always seemed like something else happened and other decisions were made," he said. "We understand it’s a prime piece of property in this day and age. We've been unbelievably fortunate to use that space. We just hoped that it wouldn’t come to this."

The soccer club doesn't have a Plan B at this time, but hopes are that something can be worked out to allow soccer players one more fall season to use the fields.

"We just would hope that in some way, some version, that Hayden Meadows could be retained as an environment for kids to play," Ruchti said. "A lot of little ones' footsteps have crossed that field, that's for sure."

District director of operations Jeff Voeller gave a presentation about the site to the board June 1, and on July 6 the board unanimously voted to sell the land in a sealed bid process.

If bids are rejected, they’d have to go back out for bid again, he said.

Revenue from the land will help the district deal with growth. This site cannot be used to build a school or expand Hayden Meadows, so the fiscally responsible thing for the district to do is sell it and use the funds for future development, district officials said.

"It's one of several pieces of surplus property that the district has been considering for sale for some time," Maben said. "This is one of the primary ways the district has for acquiring property for new schools.

"This is not a part of town where we’re seeing residential growth; it’s not an area where we would expect to see in the future a need for a new school."

Sealed bids are due for the property Sept. 8. They will go before the board Sept. 14.