|The proposed Buffalo Ridge Trail
The board of the Traverse City Area Public Schools met last night. The big topics on the table:
Vacant 13th Street Lot Potential: New Homes?
The board empowered TCAPS Superintendent Steve Cousins and Paul Soma, CFO and COO, to negotiate any offers on the vacant property north of Thirlby Field on Thirteenth Street. (Final vote would still go the school board.)
The offer currently on the table: Traverse Homes LLC has bid $400,000 for the property through their broker Kevin Endres, owner of Three West in Traverse City. It has not yet been accepted or rejected by the school board.
“Traverse Homes would like to turn the property into affordable single-family detached homes,” Endres says. “The property would be broken into city lots and look like the existing neighborhood around it.”
The thinking behind empowering Cousins and Soma with negotiating powers? TCAPS already received an unsolicited bid for the property last summer for $450,000 (also via Three West). The bid prompted the board to undertake an open bid process. During the open bid process, the board received one bid for $350,000, which the Board rejected because it was too low, and the original bidder opted not to bid at all. In the end, no sale was made.
“With the new bid process approved, Steve and I will discuss the bid with our attorney and consider short- and long-term ramifications of this [Traverse Homes] proposal,” Soma said. “We will work out any technicalities and other considerations, and then ultimately take it to the board. I am certain we will have a recommendation one way or the other, but final say belongs to the board.”
Buffalo Ridge Trail One Step Closer
TCAPS has approved a lease agreement with Garfield Township to construct, operate and improve the 2.7-mile Buffalo Ridge Trail. Part of TCAPS Safe Routes to School plan, the proposed trail would connect Division Street to South Airport Road and link the existing Mall Trail and Boardman Lake Trail by way of Griffin Street, ultimately providing access to three schools, numerous natural areas, the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, Historic Barns Park, Great Wolf Lodge and the new YMCA.
Approximately a half-mile of the Buffalo Ridge Trail is already complete along the border of West Middle School.
“We hope to launch the next section of the trail between West Middle School and the YMCA this winter,” says Julie Clark, TART executive director. “Garfield Township applied for MDNR Trust funds for the construction of the trail, and we have our fingers crossed that it will be approved.” Currently there is no funding identified for the completion of the trail to South Airport Road, says Clark.
M.O. to Bash Bullying
The district has settled on an anti-bullying modus operandi for grades K-12: the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP).
OBPP is the most researched and best-known bullying prevention program available today, according to Associate Superintendent Jayne Mohr.
“This will give us a common language and strategy across the district,” she says, adding that TCAPS is seeking grants to cover the cost.