Hilliard Northwest News

Land sale

Help All Kids Play gets 30-day extension for upfront cash

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Hilliard school board members have extended the time for the Help All Kids Play Foundation to purchase 100 acres from the school district.

On April 14, board members unanimously approved a 30-day extension, giving Help All Kids Play and its founder and managing director, Pat Shivley, until May 14 to close the deal.

Board members on Jan. 13 approved a contingent sale to the nonprofit organization, which helps economically disadvantaged children participate in organized sports.

The proposed sale included a deed restriction that prohibits residential construction of any kind and required Help All Kids Play to pay $3.5 million in cash at the closing.

Board member Heather Keck said April 15 the board received correspondence from Shivley asking for more time to complete the "due diligence of financing." The administration asked the board to grant the extension, Keck said.

Shivley said April 15 he needed the additional 30 days to complete financing and expects to meet the terms of the closing.

He said after purchasing the property, he expects to move forward with plans to build athletics fields at the site.

"I want what's best for our district (and) it would be fantastic for kids to have more places to play," Keck said. "But that land is not off the market and if this deal doesn't work, we need to have another buyer ... we want to sell this land."

The pending sale represents a loss of about $15,000 per acre for the school district.

The district bought 124 acres on the west side of Leppert Road and north of Scioto Darby Road from the Grener family in 2003 for $50,000 per acre.

Help All Kids Play will pay $35,000 per acre for 100 acres and will lease the remaining 24 acres for $1 per year.

After the failure of two bond issues to build a third high school at the site, district officials decided to purchase land on Walker Road, where Bradley High School opened in 2009.

A proposed deal last year between the district and Help All Kids Play fell through when the organization could not obtain financing. Help All Kids Play offered $50,000 per acre but required financing, which the district could not lawfully provide, district officials said.

Instead, the district accepted an offer of $40,000 per acre from Rockford Homes, but the homebuilder withdrew after it could not achieve the density required to offset the cost of providing sanitary sewers and other infrastructure.

In January, the district re-entered negotiations with Help All Kids Play and struck a deal.

Two weeks ago, Help All Kids Play received a $150,000 grant in Gov. John Kasich's 2015-16 capital-budget bill to help fund the project.

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