POSTPONED: Jefferson school purchase hits wall
The City of Eureka will postpone purchase of Jefferson School — whatever that means — while City Manager Dave Tyson says he will go ahead with the escrow process.
The Jefferson issue dominated Tuesday’s City Council meeting until after 9pm, with about thirty residents speaking in favor of moving forward with the purchase that has been in the works for some 2 1/2 years. Representatives from Arcata Charter school Fuente Nueva said they are interested in the school and would provide education services for more than 100 children.
Several speakers said the outpouring of support for the school was heartwarming and that they’d never seen anything like it.
But new Council members Mike Newman and Marian Brady are apparently convinced that College of the Redwoods has money and plans to fix the school and make a viable project — yet no one from CR came to the meeting.
The new council members said they want a guaranteed and complete business plan before approving the purchase, but councilwoman Linda Atkins called it a chicken and egg issue.
“Until we have site control you can’t finalize all these plans,” Atkins said.
Some residents walked out of the meeting after Council Mike Newman said the project couldn’t be completed quickly enough, and that money for the school would come out of the General Fund. Jefferson supporters voiced their disagreement before leaving.
Mayor Frank Jager, who campaigned on his ability to bring opposing sides together, let the newbies express their ignorance about the years-long process but didn’t attempt to help them catch up. Jager was part of the unanimous vote to move forward with the purchase in September, but his political allies are leading the charge against the project.