Buckley council extends its contract with Cascade Land Conservancy

The Buckley City Council extended a city contract with Cascade Land Conservancy (CLC) for the nonprofit to represent the city in a land purchase agreement. The deal, which was set to expire at the end of the year, will last through March.

The Council passed the extension unanimously at its Dec. 8 meeting.

City officials wish to purchase 175 acres of land along the White River, located west of state Route 410, immediately south of the river and north of Buckley. The land is currently owned by Puget Sound Energy.

City officials wish to acquire the land to protect its conservation values, including salmon habitat and open space, according to the memorandum distributed at the council meeting. The land also has potential use as a water source and park.

“The site currently contains the city’s wastewater treatment plant outfall and is one of the only viable locations for installing a productive groundwater well,” City Administrator Dave Schmidt said. “In addition, the city has identified this area as a potential site for passive recreation, a river trail and interpretive site.”

To this end, the city has raised a Puget Sound Acquisition and Restoration Grant. The grant was given to Pierce County by the state Recreation and Conservation Office, but Schmidt requested its transfer to the city of Buckley in November 2008. The amount of the grant is up to $500,000. However, the city must match the funds from the grant in order to make the purchase.

CLC was identified as an organization with conservation goals in line with the city’s, and therefore a good candidate to represent Buckley in the land purchase.

The nonprofit’s role, as defined by the agreement established May 19, is to identify sources of matching funds for the city and facilitate the White River property’s transfer into the city’s ownership. The nonprofit received $5,000 at the onset of the deal and will receive an additional $32,500 upon closing, for a total of $37,500 recompense for the estimated costs of performing its task.

Other possible sources of funding identified by Schmidt include additional grants or city capital improvement funds.

The extension with CLC matches Schmidt’s requested extension on the deadline of the grant. Under the terms of the extension, the purchase of the White River property must be completed by March. CLC will handle any due diligence required in the purchase of the property, for which Buckley will reimburse them.

Cascade Land Conservancy was founded in 1989 and is the largest land conservation, stewardship and community building organization in the state. The organization has led efforts to conserve more than 158,000 acres of forests, farms, shorelines, parks and natural areas.

For more information about the White River property purchase, contact Schmidt at 360-829-1921 ext. 200.

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