Rockridge Elementary Not Selling, May Be Rezoned
Posted at: 02/13/2013 8:34 PM
| Updated at: 02/13/2013 10:55 PM
By: Laurie Stribling
People gathered for a public meeting about the Rockridge Elementary site Wednesday night. It's been empty for almost two years since the Duluth School District's long-range facility plan.
The meeting was set up to educate community members about future plans and hear concerns. City Councilor Jennifer Julsrud lives in the community and she loves the building just like others who attended the meeting.
"This school is in my backyard," Julsrud said. "So, I wanted to make sure that the neighbors had a voice."
Julsrud said the building is not selling because it needs to be rezoned.
"Right now, it's zoned for six units," Julsrud said. "We want to rezone it so there is more units available for an investor."
Julsrud said more units will be more appealing to a buyer who would possibly turn it into residential housing or a senior living home. People in the community had some concerns.
"We'd really like to see the soccer field retained," resident Danielle Henjum said. "We'd like to see the wildness, wooded area behind the school retained."
Other concerns included traffic and parking, but potential investor Gus Gustofson was there for a different reason. He wants to buy the sight and turn it into senior housing, but with a garden, kitchen and library the community can use.
"I think it's not only what the community needs, but also an alternative method for elder care which is very important," Gustofson said.
The school district still owns the building and is asking for $1.6 million. If the council sees this rezoning plan through, it will take about six months.
School officials said Gustofson's plan would require rezoning.