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Twinsburg gets $25,000 to clear Old School property; mitigation grant denied

By APRL HELMS Reporter Published: June 17, 2017 1:39 PM
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TWINSBURG -- The city has received a $25,000 grant through the Summit County Land Reutilization Corp. to clear property at 8997 Darrow Road where the Old School sits.

"It can be used for demolition of the Old School," said Larry Finch, director of community planning and development, at a June 13 Council meeting. "We have a grant agreement currently being reviewed for signature to accept that $25,000."

The city did not, however, qualify for a $200,000 U.S. EPA Brownfield mitigation grant it applied for in November. That grant would have assisted with asbestos removal at the site. The asbestos mitigation is required regardless of the Old School's fate.

"We did not rank highly enough in the grant process to be awarded the $200,000," Finch said. "It's very competitive as I mentioned before. Unfortunately with a small project like ours, we didn't make enough impact to warrant a grant."

Council voted unanimously in March to obtain demolition estimates for the structure.

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"We are completing the demolition specification to be put together for [a request for proposals]," Finch said. "We are getting secure prices for the demolition of the Old School. We will make up our minds at that point where we go from there."

The city is looking at the 16-acre site --- and a wider 24-acre area around Twinsburg Township Square and Town Center Plaza -- for its downtown redevelopment plans, and many city officials believe it should be torn down. There has also been a contingency of residents who support keeping the building, as it represents a part of Twinsburg history. It is not an historically designated site.

The Old School was constructed in 1921 and sits on the site of the city's first centralized school. The original school building burned down. The building was expanded in 1952 and closed as a public school building in 1992.

Before Daimler Chrysler (in conjunction with Kent State University) opened the United Auto Workers Training Center in 1995, some minor fixes were made to the facility. The building also served as Kent State University's Geauga Campus until 2012. The 40,000-square-foot structure has remained unoccupied since.

Email: ahelms@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9423

Twitter: @twinsburgohio

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