June 3, 2009 in City

County plans to offer funds for YMCA site

Deal hinges on City Council agreeing to demolish building within seven years
By The Spokesman-Review
 

Spokane County will offer taxpayer funds to the city to buy the YMCA property in Riverfront Park, but only after the city completes a feasibility study and agrees the building will be demolished in seven years.

County commissioners voted 2-1 Tuesday to offer $4.4 million from the Conservation Futures fund to buy the building and slightly less than an acre on the south side of the Spokane River.

Commissioner Bonnie Mager cast the dissenting vote, saying that the project is worthwhile but the funding vote was premature.

“Conservation Futures should be the last resort, not the first resort,” she said.

The Spokane Park Board is attempting to buy the building, and in March the county offered Conservation Futures money to back the purchase.

But in April, some members of the City Council balked at a fund requirement that the building be demolished within five years.

The council ordered a feasibility study of potential uses for the building, which is under way, and asked to be able to repay the futures fund after up to 10 years if the city decided to keep the building intact.

County commissioners said that was treating taxpayer money as a “bridge loan” and refused that request.

But after negotiations, the city and county reached a compromise.

The county agreed to extend the deadline for removing the building from five years to seven.

The resolution adopted Tuesday also requires the City Council to vote to “proceed” or “not proceed,” sending a letter accepting the conditions if city officials want Conservation Futures money after their feasibility study is done.


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