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Casper agrees to give Highland Park tennis property to NCSD with condition that $2-5M gets invested in improvements

Highland Park tennis courts. (Screenshot via Google Street View)

CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper City Council on Tuesday, December 21 authorized an agreement between the city and the Natrona County School District that would lead to the city giving NCSD ownership of some property at the northeast corner of Highland Park.

The property currently contains four tennis courts, a parking lot and a sheltered picnic area. If the school district agrees to the negotiated agreement with the city, NCSD would be eligible to gain complete ownership of the property under the condition that it invest $2 to $5 million in improvements to the existing tennis facilities.

A memo from Casper city staff states that the property at Highland Park has been appraised at a value of $1.09 million.

NCSD Board of Trustees Chair Ray Catellier told the city council in August that the district was interested in the Highland Park property as a possible site for a tennis facility that could serve as a practice and competition space for both Natrona County High School and Kelly Walsh High School.

With the city council having indicated support for the concept of giving NCSD the property, the NCSD Board of Trustees in November authorized district staff to negotiate and execute a contract with Cheyenne-based Sampson Construction for the proposed project to turn Highland Park facility into a 10-court tennis complex.

The school board’s decision authorized district staff to establish a contract with Sampson with a guaranteed maximum price of $3.5 million for the tennis complex project. In September, the school board approved the allocation of $3.75 million for the project.

Negotiations for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the city and the school district began in September. City staff explain in the memo on the subject that the city has been working with the district to finalize a layout for the facility.

“Under the current plan, the site will become a ten-court tennis facility that would be suitable for competitive tournaments,” the memo states. “The courts will include seating areas, additional shelters and concessionaires. Under the terms of the MOU, the School District would become the owner of the courts and the parking lot, but the facility would remain open for public use so long as the courts are not scheduled for a School District event.”

The memo adds that the transfer documents included in the memorandum of understanding are for 6.9 acres at Highland Park and that the site “was deliberately oversized to allow for different layout options for the facility.” However, the final transfer of land will require a deed and the deed size will be scaled to cover only the actual footprint of the new facility.

“The latest design suggests a smaller footprint of 3.7 acres,” the memo states. “The deed will be prepared for Council’s approval at a future council meeting.”

Property at Highland Park that the City of Casper may give to NCSD. (City of Casper)

The agreement does not call for any monetary payments between the school district and the city.

The city would retain a right of reversion to take back ownership of the property if the district does not complete development of the property within four years of the effective date of agreement.

In addition to being required to invest $2-5 million into developing the facility, NCSD would be required to keep the property open to the public when it is not being used for high school practices or competitions. The city would also reclaim ownership of the property if the school district stops utilizing the facility as proposed under the agreement at some point in the future.

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