Common sense must reign over empty former EHS

April 15, 2010
By

The former Everett High School Building on Broadway is a white elephant.

It is an albatross around the city’s neck.

It is as useless a piece of property as the city could own in the 21st Century.

It cannot be sold as no one in his or her right mind could be found to purchase it.

It cannot be reused, as the exorbitant price for rehabilitation would far outweigh any advantages to be gained from reconstructing it.

Bottom line – it ought to be torn down and the land turned into a public park that would very likely become one of the city’s most precious downtown gems.

If the city were to turn the nearly four acre site into a public park, as Mayor Carlo DeMaria has said he might like to do, it would be about the best addition to the city’s sprawling downtown business and residential area to happen in more than 100 years.

The mayor is right now looking into the possibilities of receiving Federal stimulus funding to re-make the site.

The simple demolition of the existing building would cost a small fortune, and the mitigation of the site into open land, grassy, with lighting and walkways and plantings – all green in keeping with the times- would cost a small fortune.

However the return for the city would be eternal.

Everett has so little open space it is almost embarrassing.

The high school site hasn’t generated a dime in tax money for more than 80 years – and again – it is highly unlikely in today’s real estate market place that the present structure could be rehabbed or even sold.

The way it was built so many years ago precludes turning the building into elderly housing or subsidized housing or even into middle to up-scale condo housing.

Now enters the Common Council, which last week told the mayor that it wants to have a say in what exactly is going to be done.

With 18 Common Councilors, there are presently 18 different ideas as what ought to happen.

However the reality of the situation far outweighs the dreams that others have for the re-use of the building.

The harsh reality is that the present structure is untenable for just about anything useful.

It costs a barrel of taxpayer dollars every year to maintain it empty – about $500,000, in fact.

So the time has come for the city to take the bull by the horns, to look at the old EHS with a magnifying glass and to come to a decision about how to proceed.

Frankly, we like the mayor’s idea to turn the site into a public park.

What would be better than that, considering virtually no one can afford to develop the site?