Friends of Clark Field Group Begins Crafting Plan to Preserve Site
ST. CLOUD - The Friends of Clark Field group met Monday night, brainstorming plans to preserve the field as green space.
Last week, St. Cloud area school district superintendent Willie Jett announced they had stopped demolition of the field while they consider other options for a future site to place early childhood education programs.
The district originally had a plan to put in a $25 million building on Clark Field for early childhood education, community education, adult basic education, the district welcome center, media services and the administrative offices.
The district is up against the clock to find a future spot for early childhood. The programs are temporarily in Colts Academy in St. Joseph. The district has sold the building to the city and needs to vacate it by July 1st 2017.
With demolition of the field stopped, Friends of Clark Field leaders say their new top priority is to find a new location for early childhood.
The group listed questions to answer and short term goals to preserve the field on Monday night:
1) Address the early childhood building-what other locations in the area are options for the programs?
2) What would need to be done for Clark Field to be usable? How much would that cost?
3) In the future, would the school district entertain or commit to any investment?
4) Meet with high school principals and athletic directors.
Ruth Kaczor with Friends of Clark Field says their goal is to come up with a plan to support early childhood, while at the same time preserving Clark Field.
"This isn't a competition between us and early childhood over the space, we really believe we can have it all. We can have a great place for early childhood and yet we can still have a facility we can use for opportunities for kids and keep it as green space."
Jett said last week that the district and community needs to work fast to find an alternate plan for the programs, or they will run out of time to create an early childhood facility. He told the school board that ideally, a new plan would need to be in place before Christmas.
Friends of Clark Field is planning to meet again in two weeks to revisit their plans and goals.