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Let two schools use city land

Published Sep. 9, 2005

Among the items on the March 27 ballot for St. Petersburg voters are two referendum questions, both asking permission to lease city property to a school. In both cases, the city would be helping schools provide safe recreation for students without giving up much.

Referendum Question 1. Campbell Park Elementary School will be expanding in its residential setting and needs help to provide adequate recreation for students. The School Board is asking to lease (for a nominal fee) a portion of Campbell Park that includes an open area and softball field for use only during school hours. The public would be allowed to use that portion of the park at all other times. Because the school has very little room for its expansion _ key to a return to neighborhood schools _ the park is the only convenient space available. The Campbell Park neighborhood association supports the lease request.

We recommend a yes vote on Question 1.

Referendum Question 2. The Canterbury School of Florida wants to lease about eight acres next to the city's Northeast Treatment Plant for soccer and baseball fields for use by students and for a driveway to the school off 62nd Avenue NE. Although the school is private, it has cooperated with the city on joint use of facilities in the past. The property is next to holding ponds and the city's mulching operation and is not suitable for other public use. The lease would improve the property's appearance and take school traffic off residential 58th Avenue NE. If the city ever needed the property in the future, it would be able to take it back from the school.

We recommend a yes vote on Question 2.