Mostly Cloudy
27°FMostly CloudyFull Forecast

Expanded story: Council sells Lincoln School to Seldin Company

• Thirty-seven people — 12 in favor of selling to Seldin and 25 against — spoke during a two-hour public hearing in the mealsite at the restored Creston Depot. The crowd inside the mealsite was estimated at 130.

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 9:28 p.m. CST • Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 1:06 p.m. CST
Caption
(CNA photos by JAKE WADDINGHAM)
Creston Mayor Warren Woods gives instructions during the public hearing Tuesday evening at the restored Creston Depot. Also pictured are councilmen Randy White and Rich Madison.
Caption
(CNA photos by JAKE WADDINGHAM)
Panoramic shot of the estimated 130 people attending the public hearing Tuesday evening.

Creston City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday evening in favor of selling the Lincoln School property to Seldin Company of Omaha, Neb., for $10,000.

The council's vote came after 37 people — 12 for the sale and 25 against — spoke during a two-hour public hearing in the mealsite at the restored Creston Depot. (See related story on the speakers here > http://bit.ly/1oRPGsn).

Council members voting for the sale were Rich Madison, Ann Levine, Randy White, Marsha Wilson, Gary Lybarger and Dave Koets.

Madison — whose wife is employed at Creston's city library — told those in attendance he does not believe Lincoln School is the proper place for a new city library.

"I come from being a huge fan of the library — proud card holder, member of the Friends (of the Library), and happen to live with a woman that works at the library — which makes this interesting. But, I'm throwing myself on the sword here because I think the library needs a new direction."

Madison, ward 2 city councilman, believes the current Creston Library Board with marketing consultant Mandy Kolesik is "very enthusiastic" and will be able "to chart a new course."

Marsha Wilson, ward 4 councilwoman, voted in favor of selling to Seldin Company because of Creston's need for housing.

"As most of you know, I'm a strong supporter of increasing our housing stock. We need low-income housing all the way up to housing for executives," Wilson said.

The lone council member against the sale was Nancy Loudon (at-large).

Loudon reminded the council they voted to purchase Lincoln School from Creston School District in March 2010 with the intent of converting the old school into a city library.

She added she believes Creston Area Library and Cultural Center at Lincoln School is a better fit for the community and would be "better for the literacy and cultural needs of our generation."

Age restrictions

Seldin Company's plans with the property are to refurbish the old school into senior housing — similar to housing that exists currently at the Iowana Hotel in uptown Creston.

Their site plan — provided to the city — shows a total of 16 rental units in the school building with adequate commons and fitness areas. These 16 units would be a combination of one and two bedroom apartments.

"These units are specifically for the senior population and will have age and income restrictions," said Michael Fallesen, vice president of Affordable Housing Development with Seldin Company.

Fallesen said tenants in the school would need to be 62 years of age or older and have an annual income at or below approximatley $26,000 for one person.

Seldin — who currently manages 13,000 units across the Midwest including Green Valley Manor in Creston — also plans to construct 13, three-bedroom townhomes on the greenspace between the school and Adams Street. These would be two-story rentals with three bedrooms and about 1,200 square feet.

These townhomes would not have any age restrictions. City officials said about 75 percent of the townhomes will be low-to-moderate income housing while 25 percent will be market-value priced.

Fallesen said selling Lincoln School property to Seldin and allowing his company to make $5 million in improvements to the area has three main benefits.

1. It provides Creston with safe and affordable housing, which is in demand according to their research of the city. 2. They will preserve the historic value of the building. 3. It relieves the city of any ongoing maintenance of that building.

Fallesen said Seldin hopes to acquire the building, then begin construction in July 2015 with completion of the project predicted in June 2016. Fallesen said plans are to construct all 29 units and put them into service at the same time.

Remember though

This decision Tuesday by the council is — at the very least — disheartening for Creston Library Board which was in the middle of fundraising efforts to transform Lincoln School into the city’s new library. The board has raised $400,000 of the estimated $1.8 million needed for their renovations. 

Remember though, this purchase agreement to Seldin Company is contingent on them receiving one of two grants. Those include a Community Development Block (CDBG) grant or Housing Tax Credit grant through Iowa Finance Authority.

Those grants are awarded — and expected to be announced — in February and March, respectively.

"If they don’t receive either (grant), the building would remain city property,” Mike Taylor, Creston city administrator, told the CNA on Aug. 12. “And, if they are still interested in the building after that (if the two grants are denied), they would have to come back to the city with another proposal.”

_______

10:30 p.m. Aug. 19 (Initial story)

Creston City Council voted 6-1 in favor of selling the Lincoln School property to Seldin Company of Omaha, Neb. Tuesday evening.  

The council's vote came after 37 people — 12 for the sale and 25 against — spoke during a two-hour public hearing in the mealsite at the restored Creston Depot. The crowd inside the mealsite was estimated at 130.

Council members voting to sell were Rich Madison, Ann Levine, Randy White, Marsha Wilson, Gary Lybarger, Dave Koets. Voting against the sale was Nancy Loudon.  

Seldin Company's plans with the property are to refurbish the old school into senior housing — similar to housing that exists currently at the Iowana Hotel in uptown Creston. They also plan to construct 13, three-bedroom townhomes on the green space between the school and Adams Street.

This decision Tuesday by the council is — at the very least — disheartening for Creston Library Board which was in the middle of fundraising efforts to transform Lincoln School into the city’s new library. The board has raised $400,000 of the estimated $1.8 million needed for their renovations.  

Remember though, this purchase agreement with Seldin Company is contingent on them receiving one of two grants. Those include a Community Development Block (CDBG) grant or Housing Tax Credit grant through Iowa Finance Authority.  

Those grants are awarded — and expected to be announced — in February and March, respectively.  

"If they don’t receive either (grant), the building would remain city property,” Mike Taylor, Creston city administrator,  told the CNA on Aug. 12. “And, if they are still interested in the building after that (if the two grants are denied), they would have to come back to the city with another proposal.”  

The News Advertiser will have an expanded story that includes comments from the public hearing in Wednesday's newspaper.

Previous Page|1|2|3|Next Page

More News

Comments

Reader Poll

Thanksgiving is Thursday, Nov. 27. What's your favorite holiday pie?
Pumpkin
Pecan
Apple
Cherry
Other (Place your answer on the CNA Facebook page)