Monroe School District objects to road plan

MONROE — The Monroe School District is opposing a city project that could take away the high school baseball field and the middle school football stadium.

The project would aim to improve traffic access to downtown by extending Hill Street from N. Kelsey Street to Blueberry Lane. To make that happen, the city needs access to part of nine acres owned by the school district.

This property includes Marshall Field, which is used for high school baseball games, and Memorial Stadium, which is used for middle school football games.

“The loss of that property would be a loss to the students,” district spokeswoman Rosemary O’Neil said.

Extending Hill Street is one of 14 transportation projects the city is considering in the next six years to improve traffic flow in Monroe. The cost of extending Hill Street is estimated at $9 million. Work could start as early as 2015.

After city staff gave a presentation about the proposal in late May, the Monroe School Board directed district staff to identify the pros and cons.

In early June, school board president Tom MacIntyre wrote to Mayor Robert Zimmerman that the project on Hill Street has more drawbacks than benefits for students.

After receiving the letter, the Monroe City Council asked staff to look for alternatives.

The city would need to spend about $200,000 on a traffic study and there is no money for that until next year, economic development manager Jeff Sax said.

Sax hopes the study would make the case that Hill Street is the best option, but other streets could be chosen, he said.

“If the study involves a better route, the city would likely go to that route,” Sax said.

Alejandro Dominguez: 425-339-3422; adominguez@heraldnet.com.

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