LYNDEN — The city on June 25 received a check for $535,000 toward buying the Glenning Schoolyard Property.
City Administrator Mike Martin announced the receipt from the committee that has been working for more than a year to save the 4-acre central-city property bounded by Sixth, Eighth, Glenning and Edson streets.
The amount is more than half of the total $1.05 million in community contributions the committee plans to raise in the next two years. About two dozen backers led the way. Giving for the general public is ongoing through the Whatcom Community Foundation at Save the Schoolyard (https://www.whatcomcf.org/schoolyard/).
Owned by the Lynden School District but not needed anymore, the two vacant blocks have been school grounds property of some sort almost from the beginnings of Lynden. The initial committee came together to try to save it from development, and the effort gained financial momentum.
The total purchase price with the school district is $1.45 million.
The committee had until June 27 to pay the city at least $400,000, according to terms of the Purchase and Sale Agreement signed by both sides.
Martin said he reached Harlan Kredit, who headed up the Save the Schoolyard effort, now at his summer work as a ranger in Yellowstone National Park, and Kredit said he is “more than delighted.”
“This is truly a legacy project that our residents, and all the generations to follow, will treasure,” Kredit said. “Green space is an increasingly rare and precious commodity, especially in the center of a city. Many thanks to all who have already contributed to this wonderful project. You have created a jewel in the heart of the community that will last forever.”
The City of Lynden has agreed to advance the $1.45 million to buy the property from the school district.
As additional money is raised, it will be placed in a special fund overseen by the Whatcom Community Foundation, then transferred to the city.
The committee hopes to raise $200,000 as part of a larger parks and trails request on this fall’s Nov. 5 ballot, and the city has agreed to donate $200,000.
“I am very pleased about this private/public partnership,” said Mayor Scott Korthuis, from Brazil where he was traveling for work. “On domestic and international travels I have observed how green space in downtown areas can foster community and enhance lifestyle. Lynden is fortunate to have many visionary and community-minded individuals committed to such a legacy.”