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Redevelopment of Former Cloquet Middle School Discussed at Open House

Taylor Holt
Updated: July 11, 2018 11:16 AM

Big redevelopment plans are in store for the old Cloquet Middle School. Tuesday night, the community had the chance to hear those plans at an open house.

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The plan is for the old school to be converted into a mixed-income housing community, a $14 million project.

"We think this is going to be a great asset for the community," said Paul Keenan, Vice President of Development for Roers Companies.

The existing three-story building will be transformed into 57 residential units, as well as 10,000 square feet for commercial use.

"12 (of the apartments) are market rate and 45 are affordable, which means people will need to meet income restrictions in order to qualify. Then the rent will be slightly discounted to the market," added Keenan.

In the design process, Keenen says it was important to retain the building's history, which is why they'll be keeping the school's historic auditorium.

"A lot of the historic buildings are already well located in cities and to be able to reuse them and repurpose them is really neat," said Keenan.

Holly Hansen, Community Development Director for the City of Cloquet also says more workforce units will greatly benefit the area.

"The Community Development Authority really stepped up. We did a housing study. We've done a lot of informational, understanding about what type of housing that we need," Hansen said.

There have been concerns voiced from the community, however.

"There are fears that crime is going to increase in the area, and property values are going to decrease," said Keenan.

Other than that, Keenen says most have been in support, and they hope to get the building back in use so it's not vulnerable to things like vandalism, which happened there a couple weeks ago.

"It's really not what you want to see, but having a vacant building does attract problems," said Hansen.

There was about $3,000 worth of damages from the break-in but they say that won't significantly impact the project.

Pending public and city approval, they hope to start construction in August.

Credits

Taylor Holt

Copyright 2018 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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