Recent actions taken by the KPFD have ignited controversy, irritation and confusion regarding its $2.1 million commercial real estate acquisition in the heart of Key Center’s business district. Of particular concern is the conspicuous purchase of the former O’Callahan’s Bar and Restaurant property located on a corner of Key Center’s busiest intersection.
For obvious reasons, fire districts are prohibited from engaging in private sector real estate speculation. In a recent regularly scheduled Zoom fire commissioner meeting, the department discussed its anticipation of leasing the property. The length and the term of this lease may reveal the department’s true intention — to purchase a valuable commercial property, lease it to pay the loan, and then flip it at a profit down the road.
The department’s purchase follows precisely the formula private sector investors utilize as a business model. Coincidence? They could have bought any number of suitable properties at a fraction of the cost. So why these? This is just one of many questions we should all be asking.
If this concerns you, please set aside a couple of hours every other Tuesday evening and monitor the KPFD website for meeting links and announcements. My comments are not meant to diminish the valuable service of our first responders, upon whom we rely. But there is in my opinion the need for more community engagement to address decisions undertaken by leadership.
Carter Edwards, Belfair
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