(Posted Dec. 13, 2018)
By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer
Jefferson Local Schools and the village of West Jefferson have reached a purchase agreement on Garrette Park
The village is buying the land from the school district for $200,000. The school board finalized the contract at their Dec. 10 meeting. Village council members approved the agreement at their Dec. 3 meeting. The purchase consists of three parcels, including the park and land that was once home to the Frey school building.
“This has been a long time coming and we’re delighted to consummate a deal,” said Superintendent William Mullett. “Garrette Park is a beautiful facility, but it doesn’t fit with the schools’ mission.
“We’re glad to hand it over to the village. It is a better fit for the community.”
Ball fields and a parking lot in the area, also the site of the annual Ox Roast festival, are owned separately by the West Jefferson Community Association.
“We’re excited to have Garrette Park because it is a jewel of West Jefferson,” said Mayor Ray Martin. “It is a perfect fit in the right area.
“There have been talks with past administrations, and they just didn’t work out. Now, we’ve been able to come to an agreement.”
Martin said the village is using park development funds to cover the purchase, and improvements are already in the works.
“It’s been years since the park has been updated. Activities at the park will stay the same, but its looks will be updated,” Martin said.
Immediate plans include taking down the fence and replacing it with a split rail fence. Martin said hopes for the future include a new open-sided shelter house.
“There won’t be any apartments or a village hall going up there,” added Martin. “We’re buying the land to be park land.”
Mullett previously told board members that while the time might come when the school district needs to add another building, the 3.5-acre Frey site was too small for even another elementary building. “You need around nine acres,” Mullett said.