Moscow City leaders move forward with playfields on Joseph St. property

MOSCOW, ID - A prime piece of land in east Moscow has been left untouched for decades, despite the city and school district's desire to develop it into playfields.

The two parties took a large step towards making use of the lot in a joint meeting Wednesday morning. Reporter Rachel Dubrovin explains why building playfields on the Joseph Street lot will cost more than anticipated.

We're at the corner of Mountain View Drive and Joseph Street in Moscow. The city of Moscow and its school district have discussed building playfields on this 22-acre piece of land for years.

"I mean, this is something that we've been talking about in this community for a couple of decades," said Moscow Mayor Bill Lambert.

The school district and the city each agreed to contribute $1.5 million to the project last October. But when the bids came in earlier this month, they learned it's going to cost about $500,000 more than the budgeted amount.

"We happen to hit the market at a time when conditions are not that favorable for us," said Project Architect Ned Warnick.

Moscow City Supervisor Gary Riedner suggested moving forward with the project, despite its high price tag.

"As you know, we've been talking about this since '97, and we've missed a generation of youth at this point," said Riedner. "Delaying it any further will just amplify that problem."

Moscow School District Superintendent Greg Bailey agreed, and explained why they decided against making large budget cuts to the project .

"Having porter potties out there would probably not be something that the community would be very happy with," said Bailey.

Multiple city council members showed their support.

"I guess the question is, 'If not now, when?" said Krauss. "I think this is a hugely popular and necessary project."

But members from the school board of trustees voiced their concern.

"What troubles me a great deal is I'm hearing a lot of talk about playfields and recreation," said Moscow School Board of Trustees Member Margaret Dibble. "I'm not hearing a whole lot of talk about education."

Despite concerns from school board members, both parties agreed to split the extra cost. The city will pay 75% of the variance, and the district will pay the other 25%.

The lowest bid came in at about $3.3 million. The city will have to pay almost $370,000 more than it originally planned, and the school district will pay roughly $123,000 more. Constructions is expected to start this summer.