The old Everett High School building on Broadway can be considered a diamond in the rough for Everett taxpayers. Sitting on almost four acres and assessed for municipal purposes at more than $37 million, city officials are anxious to move this asset to the private sector. Currently, to maintain the building the cost to taxpayers is $157,000 per year, but after deducting the rental income that is paid by various groups for space, the net effect is only about $30,000. So there is no hurry to just up and sell. The school building has remained mostly vacant since 2007. The first request for a Request for Proposal (RFP) occurred in 2009 when the real estate market was near the bottom and was a disappointment in both price to be paid for the structure as well as what the project would finally look like.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria is to be congratulated for starting the process on a second Request for Proposals and for seeking consensus on what the final redevelopment of this landmark property will be for future generations. DeMaria has pledged that this will be a joint effort between the Mayor, City Council/Aldermen and community.
To have a successful redevelopment, all three of these groups must come together and put forth a concrete expectation of what the High School site will look like. While it is obvious that the Mayor and Common Council/Aldermen must agree, the community must also agree. Neighbors to the existing structure want a redevelopment that will not adversely impact their quality of life or the value of their homes.
We urge care to listen to the concerns of the neighbors. Above all, we urge all parties to remain reasonable. This project can turn out to be a win/win for all parties.