MANSON — A community center, athletic fields or an amphitheater are among the uses being considered for Leffler Field.
Manson Parks and Recreation District and Manson School District completed a purchase and sale agreement last week with Edna R. Leffler’s estate to buy the nearly 5-acre property for $1.3 million. It’s located near Highway 150 and Wapato Point Parkway.
The parks district had tried to raise money for the purchase, but an agreement with the Leffler family expired Oct. 1. Chelan County had already earmarked $500,000 for the project, and the state Legislature dedicated $265,000.
Now, the school district has decided to finance the remaining $550,000 over a 10- or 15-year loan or bond within its existing tax structure, said Superintendent Matt Charlton.
“I’ve had a long-standing dream of development of a community center here in Manson,” Charlton said. “What exactly is in that community center is open for interpretation. But this property is in the heart of downtown Manson, so I’m excited about the long-term prospects of a facility that could be used by students for different activities, athletics, maybe even performances. Maybe it has an amphitheater or a performing arts center attached to it. I foresee a really neat community asset being put there.”
Parks and Recreation Director Robin Pittman also said she likes the idea of a community center.
“Manson Parks puts on the AAU program, so during basketball season we share gym space,” she said. “The school district has three gyms. We also make use of the gym at North Shore (Bible) Church, and we’re still short on gyms. ... If we had more gym space, that would be amazing. Space to run, pickleball, any of those kind of things.”
She said there would still be lots of green space on the land.
The parks board and school board must both approve the purchase, and the deal would close at the end of January. Potential joint ownership would involve determining a use for the property and which entity would be responsible for what.
There are several opportunities for public comment.
A joint meeting of the districts is set for 5 p.m. Dec. 12 at the parks building, 142 Pedoi St. The school board will also meet at 5 p.m. Dec. 19 in the library of Manson Elementary, 950 Totem Pole Road.
Written comments, which must include full name and phone number, can be mailed or emailed to:
The Manson Chamber of Commerce started the process of preserving the property for public use. It was going to buy it and donate it to the parks district, but the county and state funding requires a public agency to maintain the property.
Pittman said the land will need to be cleaned up, as it previously held an orchard and an environmental study confirmed high levels of lead and arsenic in the soil.