Tindal Park FAQ In an effort to provide timely and accurate answers to questions raised within our community, I have provided an FAQ page for property on Tindal Ave. If you have additional questions, please email me at Derek@lewis4schools.com.
Update: March 2, 2016: At our February board meeting, the Greenville County School Board approved the sale of a surplus property on Tindal Avenue which includes a former school site and the current home to Tindal Park. The proceeds of the sale, $1.5 million, will go towards facility and program enhancements at our School District Career Centers. Here is a link to an article in the Greenville News.
What does the School District have to do with the operation of a city park? Originally, this property was the site of Donaldson School. As time passed, the school closed and a portion of the property was leased to the city for $1/year for a park. That lease includes a provision that either the city or the school district could cancel the lease at any time. The district has determined that the current market is the right time to sell the property and use the proceeds for future facility expansions at other sites. For a summary, check out this Greenville News story. Also, it should be noted that this temporary park isn’t included in the Haynie-Sirrine Master plan because the City and School District understood that it could be sold at any time.
Why isn’t the School District using this property? When the MT Anderson building was opened (at the old Southside High School site), most of the district’s administrative staff were moved from satellite offices like the one at Tindal to more regional locations. For a time, the district held the property as a backup should additional administrative space be necessary. After conversations with a potential buyer, the District realized that market rates are high enough now to make it a worthwhile plan to sell.
Why is the District selling the property? In the District’s current Long Range facility plan, there are $90 million in facility renovations and expansions planned over the next 12 years- primarily to get students out of portable and to anticipate growth projections. There are only a few specific funding streams the District has that can be used to pay for facility work. Selling these surplus properties will allow us to reduce the amount of money tax payers across the county are expected to pay for facility expansions. Read more about the district’s long range facility plan.
Why not just sell half of the property, and retain the park for use? This property’s location, and its size are why it is so valuable. There are very few developable multi-acre lots in the Alta Vista area. If the property size was cut in half, the value would be significantly lessened. But, more importantly, this asset could be applied to the cost of facility renovations that would take students out of portables which is more in line with School District goals and objectives.
Why doesn’t the School District just give the property to the city? The District’s primary objective is to ensure for the best possible classroom instruction, and to ensure we have the facilities necessary for this to occur. Funds from the sale of this park could allow us to fully fund much-needed expansions at classrooms across the District. It would be irresponsible to go to taxpayers across the county for a tax increase to cover these needed expansions when we are sitting on a $1.5 million unused piece of property. Learn more about the district’s plan.
Why doesn’t the district just use Tindal property for a school? The current facility would not meet code requirements for schools. Additionally, the acreage of this land is not large enough for a new school, and the cost for renovations for non-classroom space is unnecessary since MT Anderson opened.
Doesn’t the school district have an operating surplus that can be used to facility renovations and expansions? No. Currently the District does have an Operating Reserve, but those funds cannot be used towards facility needs. Per pupil allocations from the SC Dept of Ed can only be used for classroom instruction. The reserve discussed at board meetings achieves two purposes: 1- it allows the district to maintain the highest possible bond rating, and 2- it allows us to maintain a reserve should the state withhold funds again like they did in 2008. During that time, our reserves allowed us to continue through the school year without laying off teachers. Other districts in the state didn’t have this, and teachers were let go mid-contract because there were no funds to pay their salary. Our board implemented an 8% fund balance requirement to help us prepare for future challenges like this.
Is this the only property the district is selling? No, currently the district has 5 properties that are considered “excess” including this property, the old Berea Elementary School, and a few others that are for sale. This can be found on page 4-13 of the district’s long range plan http://www.greenville.k12.sc.us/Departments/docs/planning/cip.pdf
Why doesn’t the City just buy the park? We would be open to a discussion with the city about purchasing the park, or swapping land for a future school site. However, typically the City of Greenville doesnt purchase park land, a donor donates it to the city for a tax incentive. It is my understanding that Greenville has not paid for a park since the opening of Cleveland Park. Since that time, the city has received donated property and converted to parks, including, most recently, Cleveland Park Stables.
What is the timeline for the sale of the property? Step 1: The School Board has to vote to allow the property to be declared surplus. This was done at the January 2015 board meeting. Step 2: The property must be listed and sealed bids must be accepted. This began in late January, and sealed bids are being accepted until June Step 3: The District staff will have a public meeting to open the sealed bids and review them. Then, a recommendation will be made to the board (likely June or August) Step 4: The School Board will vote to approve the terms of the sale (likely June or August) Update: The property was approved for sale on February 2016- and the new owner has 180 day to close out the sale, pending approval of design plans by the City of Greenville.
What can be done to save Tindal Park? There is a group of neighbors and community leaders working to develop a win-win plan that would include development of a portion of the property in exchange for donating a portion of the property to the city to remain as a park. It is my understanding that they have a plan, and are now seeking a Developer who would agree to propose this as a bid. They have a Facebook page.
What are you doing to help us find a developer? Because of the nature of the sealed bid process, and the importance that every bidder receive fair and equitable information, the school board can’t support a specific development plan. Also, I cannot take a lead on development plans since I will be asked to ultimately vote on the plan submitted by District staff. But, I will continue to work to answer any questions that citizens or the developers may have about the desire for a park to remain and will continue to do so.
What assurances can you give that a high rise development doesn’t show up here? The city has a master plan for the Haynie-Sirrine neighborhood that includes Tindal Avenue. This plan limits what can be built within these streets, and does not allow for development higher than 2.5 stories, and names a specific construction density. Also of note, the Haynie-Sirrine Master plan has this area zoned as Residential, showing that even in its creation there was no plan for a permanent park on Tindal Avenue. You can read the city’s Haynie-Sirrine Master plan.