WENATCHEE — The Wenatchee School District will have an easier time in the future of maintaining two properties it is keeping for potential future school sites.

Ziemke’s Orchard Removal has been awarded the contract to grade and seed the 36-acre former fruit orchard at 1611 Okanogan Ave.

The Wenatchee School Board on Dec. 10 approved a $46,209.57 contract with sales tax — for the project, which includes the dirt work and seeding as well as locating and marking irrigation pipes on the 41-acre property that the district purchased in 1996.

The pear and cherry trees that had been on the property were removed in the spring after the district could not find someone to lease the orchard after a previous long-term lease ended.

“To be good stewards of the land, we had to clear the orchard,” Gregg Herkenrath, the district’s facilities director, told the board. “This is the second piece of that so, as a district, we can maintain it easily long-term.”

Smith Excavation has been hired to demolish the last mobile home left on the 30-acre property in the 3400 block of Saturday Avenue in Malaga. The $7,303.50 contract also was approved Dec. 10 by the board.

The district in 2000 purchased the property, which was Shielded R’s Mobile Home Park. The purchase came with landlord responsibilities that included costly expenses like repairing septic systems, prompting a decision by the district to get out of the landlord business.

The district notified tenants in October 2016 that they would have a year to find other spaces for their mobile homes. Official eviction notices were issued in late 2016. The district negotiated to buy some of the structures as part of the eviction and condemnation process.

In April 2018, the board declared the mobile homes they had purchased as surplus and sought buyers interested in moving the structures. In December 2018, the district sold some of the structures for $10 each. The new owners agreed to either move or demolish them.

At the time, Herkenrath said the district likely would have to pay for demolition of any remaining structures.

“This is the remaining structure on the property,” Herkenrath said Dec. 10.

Funds for the project are coming from the general fund, said Larry Mayfield, the district chief financial officer.

Nevonne McDaniels: 664-7151

mcdaniels@wenatcheeworld.com