The 90-day delay by the developer in purchasing over 20 acres of property from the Moose Lake School District was explained by Superintendent Robert Indihar at a meeting of the Land Committee of the Moose Lake School Board at a meeting on Tuesday, May 28.
“The developer would still like to build on our property,” said Supt. Indihar. “He bought two lots by the motel (AmericInn) for the sign. The requirement is that the facility be located on those lots for a sign to be there.”
Supt. Indihar explained that the developer does not want to locate businesses on the school district’s property that would compete with the local gas stations and other retail businesses , such as ALCO. The developer said that he would look out for the businesses in the city, he added.
The city would be involved in the land sale and placing covenants on the property.
A requirement of the land sale is that a certain number of businesses be developed within a certain number of years.
“The key is that we’ve got someone who is a mover and a shaker,” said Supt. Indihar. “If that land is going to be purchased and developed, we can say that he needs to make us an offer. And then we will decide if we accept the offer.
“If a McDonald’s doesn’t go in there, our land won’t be as valuable.”
Supt. Indihar also informed the committee that there is a one-year delay on the townhome development project by the Central Minnesota Housing Partnership on school district land.
He explained that a grant application had to be submitted by June 1. However, he was informed that there was not enough time to pull the information together for the grant application, and it won’t be submitted until June 1 of next year.
Due to insurance requirements, Supt. Indihar explained that he is exploring options about whether to have a new foyer added to the main entrance of the school with a security system or whether the main door should be manned. Health and Safety funding is not available for the security system.
Bids have been asked to be submitted from Woodland and Reliable Insurance Companies.
During the special school board meeting following the Land Committee meeting, the ballots were canvassed and the counts were accepted.
The vote totals for the school bond referendum of $33 million for a new preK-12 school during the May 21 election were 646 yes, and 1,138 no, for a total of 1,784 ballots.
Board Chair Kris Lyons was in tears as she said, “I’m worried that we will not exist. It didn’t help that gas prices went up to $4.39 that week, and that taxes and home and car insurances were due that month. People that came here after the flood forgot us. We have to have a strategic plan. Without that school, this community will cease to exist as we know it. It is frightening. It always comes down to money. It makes me sad.”
Supt. Indihar said that the bill that had been brought to the Legislature during the past session still existed, and it will be brought forth again in the next session. The bill called for the Legislature to grant both the Moose Lake School District and the Rushford-Peterson School District in southeastern Minnesota, that had also experienced a flood, $20 million for each school district to replace its buildings.
Board member Julie Peterson said that the Moose Lake School District now has a stronger case to present to the Legislature for funding assistance because of the failure of the vote.
“The potential for flooding is part of it now,” she said. “This is never going to pass. We need help.”
The board turned its attention to identifying the process to find someone to replace Peter Steen, who resigned from the board at the last meeting.
It was decided to ask for letters of interest from school district residents, and require that the letters be due on June 28. Interested candidates must tell about themselves in the letters and why they are interested in serving on the board. The call for the letters will be published on the school district’s website and in the newspapers.
The potential candidates may be interviewed before someone is selected by the board in July.