Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is Longfellow Elementary School at $1 a Good Buy for the City?

I viewed Director Smith talking to the City Council about the School District's offer to sell Longfellow Elementary School to the City for $1. I realize the City Council needed to know about the offer, but I would have rather heard Director Smith speak realistically about the offer than the pie in the sky, life is good, this may be a good deal outlook on the school district offer and we need to study it.

The $1 offer is not really a good deal for a city and it doesn't take months of study to figure that out. Capital dollars are tied up on many other projects out into the future. The school is two blocks away from McKennan Park so using the property for a city park doesn't make sense.

The building is old and needs to be refurbished, remodeled, updated for future use, whatever that might be. The city would have to do that if they wanted to use it as a city building. A community center is usually attached to an elementary school. A community center at that location doesn't make sense if it doesn't make sense for an elementary school.

It's awfully nice of the School District to try to unload their white elephant problem to the city by "giving away" their problem for $1 but we can't be that gullible, can we? That one buck will turn into millions of bucks to rehabilitate their problem. The city can be an attractive problem solver for the school district because the city has all that sales tax money available to them that the school district doesn't have at their disposal.

I suppose the city could buy it and try to economically develop it. Another TIF? Spend money on tearing the building down to ready the property for development? After all, economic development is supposed to be the Mayor and Director Smith's expertise, isn't it? Frankly, I would rather they stayed focused and direct their efforts on economically developing that Russell Avenue corridor near the Denny Sanford Premier Center and the downtown area. Priorities, people.

Instead of studying everything to death and putting the directors through a meaningless exercise in trying to identify possible uses, it is sometimes "prudent" to just say thanks, but no thanks and move on with the priorities already on one's plate. Vision, leadership and practical and prudent thinking, please.

1 comment:

  1. This is nothing more than Homan passing the buck (no pun intended) so she can say she is trying to do something with that land and the building. She doesn't want to be responsible for any of it. Guess what - now the school board gets to learn how to be good community leaders and neighbors and figure out how to not truly screw these people after closing their school - yet opening a new charter - oh excuse me - Spanish Immersion school out by West Central. I usually - no - I never agree with Smith - but he is getting caught and I think he is taking the steps to make sure the city isn't the ones taking the blame on this deal. This fully falls back on the SF school district and the school board.