The empty lot at Third and Main Street used to be the site of the middle school. (Berett Wilber)

The fate of an empty lot at the corner of Third and Main Street in Haines is up for discussion again. The question of what to do with the grassy piece of land downtown came to the planning commission last year. But the group didn’t come up with an answer. Now, the commission will revisit the topic.

Last year, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee proposed turning the downtown spot, where a middle school used sit, into a park.

The planning commission was split on the issue, and never took any action on the request. The commission did decide not to classify the lot as eligible for sale, despite interest from a few residents.

But the parks committee hasn’t given up on the idea. Last month, it recommended the assembly designate the lot as a recreation area for public use.

In its request, the committee references part of the comprehensive plan that calls for a town square. If the lot in question was sold, the group says there would be no more borough land on Main Street available for this.

When the issue came up last year, there was a debate over whether the best use of the space would be commercial or recreational.

At a recent meeting, the assembly was split on whether to send the request to the planning commission.

Assemblyman Tom Morphet was against it.

“I’m not going to support sending this back to the planning commission because I think we resolved this to the extent that it’s going to be resolved any time soon,” said Morphet.

Tresham Gregg wanted the assembly to go ahead and complete the parks committee’s request itself.

“Parks and Rec has advised to designate lot 8A as public use, recreation area,” said Gregg. “It seems like that’s a really good thing to do. And also – if at some point it became imperative for us to change that, we could. But at the moment it seems that’s the best plan. I don’t think it needs to go back to the planning commission.”

Heather Lende was on the planning commission when this issue came up last year.

“The planning commission has already made a decision on it,” said Lende. “So in sending it back to the planning commission, what would be the purpose.”

Mayor Jan Hill said the issue falls under the planning commission’s duties. She said if the group still feels the same way, it can reaffirm its stance.

Hill broke a tie vote in favor of sending the request to the planning commission, putting the idea back on the table.