Posted at: 10/16/2013 6:21 PM
By: Jenna Lohse
Developer Proposes Win-Win for 1918 Kasson School building
For years the fate of the historic school building in Kasson has been debated. Residents are divided with some favoring preservation, others, demolition. But now there's another option on the table.
A developer has stepped forward and his plan is a win-win for many residents.
The scene at the old Kasson school looks more like a construction site than a historical one.
"It's an eye soar and if they don't decide to do something why they better tear it down,” said Bernice Hackenmiller, who lives across the street from the historic building.
Bernice Hackenmiller is just one resident who walks out her front door and sees the building every day.
"Something needs to be done now,” said Hackenmiller.
Tired of the battle surrounding the fate of the building, many residents are happy to see a developer inspecting the property.
"It's what we do, we source historic buildings and convert them into affordable housing it can be either for seniors or it could be workforce housing,” said Clint Jayne with Cohen-Esrey Affordable Partners.
Clint Jayne is a Kansas based developer who’s evaluating the old building for a possible big remodel.
"I’m looking at the interior, the floor plan and the viability of the conversion,” said Jayne.
The idea is to keep as much historic fabrication as possible. The developer met with the community members Wednesday, many who are working to save the old school building.
"It would give the city of Kasson their tax base they need, it would preserve the school and it would not coast the tax payers a penny,” said Joe Mittelstadt, Kasson resident.
For many Kasson residents, the new option is a win-win.
"The communities around Rochester are looking to grow. What will attract people to the town of Kasson, I would think affordable housing would be one thing,” said Marlyn Schroeder, Kasson resident.
For Bernice Hackenmiller, as long as something is being done, she's happy.
"This has been going on forever, so yeah let's take care of it,” said Hackenmiller.
This is not a done deal, there's still much to be discussed. The project would be funded with a combination of housing tax credits and historic tax credits. The developer met with the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota today to find out what they want to see preserved.