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Soccer fields go for $1.5 million

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | September 15, 2020 1:00 AM

The highest bidder out of eight has won the soccer fields at Hayden Meadows Elementary.

On Monday evening, the Coeur d'Alene School Board unanimously voted to accept a bid of $1,525,255 from Kulka Land/Ryne C. Stoker Separate Property Trust for the 10-acre parcel behind the school.

The City of Hayden recently sent the school district a trade offer to swap the soccer fields for 1.76 acres on the north side of the old Hayden Lake School that formerly housed Northwest Expedition Academy. However, the school board is required to accept the highest bid, although it can reject any or all bids. The final decision will go before the board for final approval in about 30 days.

"I do appreciate the City of Hayden coming forward, and if it were a closer bid or we were looking at bids that didn't exceed the fair market value in some fashion, or they were a close call, but I just don't think, in my opinion, to do our due diligence and taking care of our financial aspects and getting the most value we can for our property, it's just not an option in light of where the bids came out," Vice Chair Jennifer Brumley said.

The public bid opening was Sept. 8 at the district office. The lowest bid was submitted by the John A. Buetler and Ann J Buetler Living Trust for $925,000. Hallmark Homes, Copper Basin and Aspen Homes also threw their hats in the ring for this well-known, well-used green space.

Chair Casey Morrisroe said "all of us have had kids that have played soccer out there, or cross country" and they realize the importance of that area, "but I agree, when we're looking at the financial duties we have as trustees for our district and the need to acquire land in an area of growth, we really need the cash in this situation, so I would be inclined to accept the purchase as opposed to a trade."

Trustee Rebecca Smith said it's important to remember what's in the long-range plan for the district.

"This kind of a buy-sell kind of an agreement is really important to that long-range plan that was approved," she said. "I wish it could have maybe worked out a little different for Hayden, definitely, but I think it's important for our district to acquire to move forward just with their long-range plan."

Trustee Lisa May said that is a valued and cherished property, and has been for many years.

"It's disappointing, I'm sure, to many in the community that it will no longer be available," she said. "If they recognize that we're looking forward and that this will allow us the opportunity to purchase land where we most need it, I think it would be easier to understand."