Lincoln-to-Seldin: 37 speak at Tuesday's public hearing
Thirty seven people — 12 for selling the Lincoln School property to Seldin Company and 25 against — spoke during a two-hour public hearing in the mealsite at the restored Creston Depot. There was an estimated 130 people in the meal site during the hearing.
Each speaker was allowed three minutes for remarks. Below are a couple of highlights from last night's speakers:
Wayne Pantini spoke on behalf of the Union County Development Association. UCDA recommended Tuesday evening the city sell the Lincoln School property to Seldin Company of Omaha, Neb.
"(Seldin's) project would provide 29 additional housing units, and we all know housing can be very hard to find in this community," Pantini said. "Their project compliments the Cottonwood Subdivision being proposed. Together, these two projects would bring 80 housing units to the community in the next few years. This is unheard of in rural communities."
Pantini complimented Creston Library Board for their efforts. He said he'd like to see both projects come to fruition. He urged the library board to take an alternative look at their facility and adjacent property — utilizing their mantra of thinking bigger. He also encouraged them to hold community input sessions to garner ideas from the public.
Midge Scurlock spoke in favor of the sale to Seldin Company. Scurlock — a Creston native for 80 years — said the Creston School District abandoned Lincoln School for any number of costly reasons and was fearful transforming the school into a library would cost taxpayers more money.
"We are not a wealthy community. Times are tough and costs are rising," Scurlock said. "Along with everything else, cost projections for this project (Lincoln-to-Library) are probably rising. What happens if the money raised doesn't cover completion. Who pays then? Are the board members going to sign the loan application."
The council also received eight written letters favoring the sale.
Randy Hughes spoke against the sale to Seldin Company for three reasons. First, he told the city not to sell the building for only $10,000. "It's worth more than that," Hughes said.
Second, Hughes said it's not often in a controversial matter that the council can't go wrong with their decision. Hughes agreed Creston needs housing, but believes the library would fill a greater need. "
And the third thing that popped in mind — which I haven't had time to edit or refine, and don't know if it's appropriate — is, one (project) would make Creston a better place to die and the other a better place to live."
Janna Steed said Lincoln School is not a good site for the high-density housing proposed by Seldin.
Marilyn Ralls, director at Creston's library, told those in attendance libraries are not dying. Gibson Memorial Library had three summer reading programs with 416 participants, she said. She explained why the library is in need of more space. She recommended the council vote against the sale to Seldin. The council also received 23 written letters against the sale.
Pastor Joanna Davis with God's Outreach Deliverance in Creston was against sale to Seldin. She offered $10,000.25 for the building during the public hearing. Davis said her church would hold after-school programs and help abusers of drug and alcohol in the Lincoln School space. This offer was not discussed further by the council Tuesday.