A resolution has been proposed to offer a local park as a possible site

Monday, September 17, 2007 | 11:03 p.m. CDT; updated 11:05 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — Columbia resident Sid Sullivan asked the City Council on Monday night to pass a resolution offering a portion of Cosmopolitan Park to the Columbia School District as a possible site for the third high school.

Sullivan said no more than 20 acres of Cosmo Park, located in northwest Columbia at 1615 Business Loop 70 W., would be needed for the actual buildings.

Sullivan’s proposal called for the creation of a joint-use agreement between the city and school district to use the remaining 513 acres of the park for parking and recreation facilities.

While the council doesn’t have the authority to tell Columbia Public Schools where to put a third high school, it can offer land, just as private landowners have done, he said.

The site the school district has already purchased, commonly called the Vemer site, has many problems including inadequate sewer systems and roads, Sullivan said, and the city should not have to pay for unnecessary infrastructure, because it would cause it to neglect other needed programs.

“The city cannot take responsibility for these shortcomings,” he said.

Sullivan said many taxpayers were upset because of the “convoluted decision-making process” regarding the third high school site.

The council did not have any questions for Sullivan after his five-minute scheduled public comment.

Ben Londeree, a member of the committee appointed to review the proposed high school sites, said the school district should locate a school near, but not on, a city park so that facilities could be shared.

Sullivan said, “I’m not as much wed to the idea of using the Cosmo Park land as I am that the city and school board work together.”

He said cooperation between the city and school district is needed to address Columbia’s future growth.

Features of the 533-acre park include an 18-hole golf course, skate park, football fields, tennis courts and baseball/softball fields.

The committee appointed to recommend a high school site to the school board is scheduled to meet today at 6:30 p.m. in the administration building at 1818 W. Worley St. The committee will meet at least twice before ranking the sites, and they will make a presentation on their progress during the school board’s work session at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

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