Gearhart Elementary School

Aerial view of the school, with fields in the foreground.

The new owner of Gearhart Elementary School responded to calls to keep playing fields open to residents by doing just that.

After meeting with Mayor-elect Paulina Cockrum and City Administrator Chad Sweet, Robert Morey, of Scofi Gearhart LLC, announced last week he will provide parking and temporary access from both the north and south to the more than 3-acre eastern portion of the 8.5-acre site. The field has historically been available as play fields for Gearhart children.

“The western portion of the site will be fenced off while we work to understand building and site conditions and the goals of the broader Gearhart community,” Morey said.

The city will provide appropriate liability insurance and maintenance, he said.

“We want to thank Mayor-elect Cockrum for her efforts on behalf of Gearhart citizens and we look forward to working with her in the future,” Morey said.

Scofi Gearhart purchased the property earlier this month for $500,000, which included a $100,000 educational grant to the seller in addition to the $400,000 purchase price.

After the sale, Mayor Matt Brown and Cockrum expressed shock at what they called a lack of transparency, and urged the owners to reconsider fencing off the longstanding recreational space.

Their letters led to a meeting and follow-up from Sweet.

“I couldn’t be more ecstatic for the families of Gearhart and youth in our community that Mr. Morey has decided to do the right thing and keep the ball fields open for youth sports and resident recreation,” Brown said. “Mayor-elect Cockrum has shown why she will be excellent leader for Gearhart by helping to facilitate such an outcome for the community. My sincerest appreciation to our wonderful city staff and Mr. Morey for his generous consideration. My hope is this arrangement lasts well into the future.”

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