Duluth's Former Central High Set for Rezoning

Posted at: 11/08/2013 4:50 PM | Updated at: 11/08/2013 6:12 PM
By: Travis Dill
tdill@wdio.com

A city council vote next week could help the Duluth School District sell the former Central High School property by making it appeal to business developers.

It's been over two years since the last Trojans walked out of Central High on top of the hill in Duluth. The school was closed as part of the districts long-range facilities plan that condensed students into few schools in an attempt at cost savings.

However when classes stopped at the high school the property automatically became rezoned as R-1, and City Councilor Jim Stauber said that was a problem.

“It really limits what this property can be used for, primarily for houses and single-family homes, and so I can understand that the school district was concerned about well, 'How are we going to market it?'” Stauber said.

The district did try to sell the property on Craigslist for nearly $14 million, but they did not have any luck. District officials said it takes over $100,000 a year to maintain the property so they hope rezoning to mixed use business will make it more appealing to developers.

“You don't have a better view of the city than from right on top of the hill here, and I think any Realtor or somebody interested in developing...i think this would be an ideal site,” Stauber said.

But what could crop up on the property if the council approves the rezoning?

“Very small type of businesses. Dentists offices, veterinary clinics, businesses that sell products that you'd find at a small mall, a strip mall, something like that,” Stauber said.

He said it fits with the city plan for the area and neighbors have not objected. Stauber said the council vote next week should go smoothly.

“I think it's a great idea, and I think it's probably a long time coming,” Stauber said.

The rezoning plans also leave an easement for a bike trail so the public can access the entire property. The council is scheduled to vote on the ordinance on Tuesday.

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