CW schools and Violet Twp. work out land deal

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Land did not stay in the hands of the Canal Winchester School District very long on Oct. 15 when the school board accepted a donation of 30 acres from Ruth Pifer and then authorized its sale to Violet Township.

Pifer gave the 30-acre tract, located on the north side of the Green Gate Development, along with another 3.36-acre parcel owned by Pifer Tract Five Limited Partnership, to the district. The board accepted the gift prior to closing on the property on Oct. 16.

After thanking Pifer for the donation, a resolution was approved authorizing the sale of the property for $170,000, subject to closing cost adjustments, to Violet Township for parkland.

"She (Pifer) is donating the land to the school district and we appreciate the gesture," said Canal Winchester Schools Treasurer Joyce Boyer. "When this first came up five years ago, we worked with Violet Township and (Director of Operations) Bill Yaple and determined we would sell the land. It satisfies her requirements and it satisfies our requirements. This way, she helped the schools and we worked out a plan. It’s a beautiful parcel of land and it will be great for park land. The planning was done five years ago, but things take time and we didn’t accept the donation until last night, although we came to an agreement five years ago."

Board member Stan Smith said the school district’s philosophy towards a campus-style setting for school buildings helped in the decision to sell the land to the township.

"We said to Mrs. Pifer we really appreciate the donation, but the township was looking for passive park land and a site for a future fire station in the northeastern corner of the district," remarked Smith. "Ruth (Pifer) put a restriction on it not to have anything commercial; only a school or park land. It will be deed restricted and committed to be park land, except for the two to three acres for the station, for the benefit of the community."

In terms of land valuation, since the acreage is restricted in use, the cost of the site is worth much less than if the 30-plus acres were commercially developed.

Yaple reported Pifer annexed the land to Canal Winchester a few years ago, created a development plan for two large parcels, and included tracts donated to United Church Homes and the school district.

Yaple said he went to the schools, questioned if they had any intentions for their Pifer land, and asked if they would be amenable to moving the tract into the township. He said he then went to Pifer and asked if she would consider the township-school agreement.

"We were looking for land for future use a fire station. The 30-plus acres also has beautiful land for a park  and there’s a nice stand of trees that hasn’t been logged and would be a good buffer," continued Yaple. "She said yes and so we drew up a letter of intent to transfer. At the time, we couldn’t even buy five acres of land for $170,000 and here we’re getting over 30 acres. As the area around the site begins to develop, we need to have something in place. We thought this was an excellent opportunity to acquire land at a really reasonable cost, but there is no timeline."

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