CEDAR RAPIDS — The Cedar Rapids school board approved the sale of two flood-damaged district properties Monday night after a public hearing that had a former board member requesting the postponement of one sale.
Lisa Kuzela, who was elected in 2008 and did not seek re-election in 2009, asked members to delay the sale of the district warehouse at 605 G Ave. NW. She suggested that they wait until after the March 6 election in which Linn County voters will be asked to extend the 1 percent local-option sales tax for 10 years.
Revenues from the extension would be used for flood protection on both sides of the Cedar River in Cedar Rapids. A 20-year extension that would have funded flood protection, street repairs and property-tax relief was turned down in May.
The Neighborhood Development Corp. of Cedar Rapids signed a $200,000 purchase agreement for the district warehouse. Kuzela told board members that if the sales tax extension measure passes, the added protection could increase the property’s value, possibly resulting in more money for the district.
Marty Hoeger, Neighborhood Development’s president and CEO, told board members it would be unwise for his group to raise its purchase price.
“We have a responsibility to the community to take on projects that will benefit the community, but not drain our funds,” Hoeger said.
Commercial real estate broker Scott Olson, the district’s representative in the disposition of its property, told board members that it could be years before the flood protection is in place.
“Even if the vote goes through, we’re looking at a minimum of 10 years before something happens,” agreed board member Keith Westercamp. “They want to get something happening now.”
Six board members — Mary Meisterling did not attend — approved selling the warehouse to Neighborhood Development for $200,000. They also approved selling 405 First Ave. SW, otherwise known as the carpenter/paint shop, for $110,100 to Sniggol Holdings LLC.
The Educational Service Center, the ESC Annex, the carpenter/paint shop, the main warehouse and the food service warehouse were damaged by floodwaters in 2008. None of the district facilities will be needed by the district once the new Educational Leadership & Support Center opens in May. Money from their sales will go into the school infrastructure local-option sales tax fund.
Also Monday night, project sponsor Mike Gumm of Shive-Hattery Inc. of Cedar Rapids provided an update on the new administrative and support services facility. He said the project is on schedule and planning for the transition is under way.
“Six months from now, the trailers will no longer be (at Kingston Stadium),” Gumm said.