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Attorneys attempting to resolve question of land at two schools

Property EA Harrold 1-8 Property Millington Middle 1-8

By Bill Short

Millington Schools logoAttorneys for the Millington School Board and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen are attempting to resolve an issue regarding three parcels of land at two schools.
Dr. David Roper, superintendent of the municipal school system, noted at Monday night’s school board meeting that the parcels have been used for a “number of years” as city parks.
At its Oct. 6, 2014 meeting, the school board voted to transfer two of the parcels to the city and request the third one from it by a quitclaim deed process.
The first two proposals were to transfer to the city a park adjacent to E. A. Harrold Elementary School and property adjacent to Millington Middle School.
Although both parcels include easements, Roper has said the one attached to the middle school would be “retained,” so parents could “drop off and pick up” their children.
The third proposal involved a small portion of the “back building” at the middle school that is located on property actually owned by the city. So, the superintendent had requested that it be transferred to the school system.
During Monday night’s meeting, Roper recalled that the city board had indicated in a subsequent “work session” that, “for various reasons,” the quitclaim deed process would probably not “go forward.”
He said one of the attorneys for the city had suggested that, instead of the parcels “changing hands,” a better way to proceed was to develop a “common-interest agreement” regarding their usage and maintenance.
Roper recalled that, at its Dec. 1, 2014 meeting, the school board approved the common-interest agreement. But on Monday night, he said he has subsequently been informed that the city board does not believe it wants to move forward with that agreement.
In response to a question by board Vice Chairman Greg Ritter, Roper acknowledged that he could not be certain when the issue will be resolved. He said it relates more to the property at the middle school than at E. A. Harrold, especially, the pavilion at Jameson Park and the restrooms within it.
Because the school board attorney’s fees “continue to be incurred,” Roper said he would like to achieve a resolution as quickly as possible.
In response to a question by board member Louise Kennon, the superintendent said he can “calculate a figure” regarding the cost thus far. Kennon said she thinks the board has tried very hard to keep things “within a budget” and, “in good faith,” has done everything possible.
“I just think that we’ve reached a point of impasse,” she noted, “unless the city’s willing to give a little bit, because I think we’ve given at every point.”
Ritter said he would like to have a resolution by Jan. 31 that can be presented to the school board at its Feb. 2 meeting and then to the city board on Feb. 9. Board Chairman Don Holsinger noted that, if the school board maintains those properties, it must purchase liability insurance for them.
“Let’s see if we can get a resolution on it through the lawyers,” he concluded. “And we will make a decision at our next meeting, one way or another.”

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