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Interest In Middle School Property Discussed

By Staff | Jun 18, 2009

Interest in the old Emmetsburg Middle School property was addressed during the regular meeting of the Emmetsburg Community Schools Board of Education on June 15, in the high school/middle school library.

Superintendent John Joynt spoke briefly to an initial offer that had been received.

“The offer accepted at our May 29 special meeting became void after funding was not secured by June 1,” said Joynt. “The gentleman is still working on it. Mr. Wentzel [realtor] feels that it is financing to retrofit the building for apartments of some sort. We haven’t heard from him [potential buyer], therefore the hearing was cancelled.”

Joynt went on to explain that he had heard from Margay Grose and Dick Jackman on their plan to purchase the property, form a non-profit organization, and use the building for a community center.

“They’d like to have cooking classes available, shop rental for woodworking, and all kinds of community activities like dancing, drawing, photography, trade school skills, and more,” Joynt noted.

The superintendent then introduced Community Developer Steve Heldt who had information about another party interested in the property.

“I have an outside possibility,” Heldt began. “I don’t want people to get the wrong impression that this is a sure thing. An unnamed company has made inquiries if the building was available and we said it was.”

Heldt added that the Middle School property is one of three places that this company has examined.

“Their inquiry was if we’d be willing to spend a little money to find out what it would cost to retrofit the school,” said Heldt. “So, we had an architect firm come in, look the building over, and we’re paying some money for them to draw up a cost estimate for converting it to office space or conference rooms.”

Heldt continued, “They should know in the next month or two. I just wanted you to be aware of what is happening and what Emmetsburg Community Development Corporation is doing.”

“My question is: would this company provide jobs for people since so many have lost their jobs at Skyjack and SNC, or would this company bring in their own people?” asked Linda Tienter, board member.

“That’s a good question,” Heldt replied. “There would be some people with jobs here, but I’m not sure how many would move here. The possibility exists that some could drive from where they already are. I think that down the road, the potential would be there. But the main thing would be if you had 25 people coming every day eating meals and buying gas, that would be a benefit.”

Joynt wondered, “In July, they could have an offer if they’re interested?”

“They could,” answered Heldt. “This is one of the few opportunities we have in our community to say, hey, we have a building that can be bought very reasonably and with a lot of floor space and a lot of potential to do something.”

“Between what Steve has told us and what Margay Grose has proposed, I think it’s just a matter of sitting back a bit and waiting and seeing what people have in mind,” Board President Karla Anderson surmised. “I’m just encouraged by all the interest.”

“That’s all we can do right now,” agreed Don Hagen, board member.