Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor
Friday, 18 October 2013 10:51
A Bowling Green attorney's offer to buy the Ridge Elementary property from the city is apparently going nowhere.
Andrew Schuman told the Sentinel-Tribune Thursday he had offered the school board and city $27,500 for the property and been "firmly" told no by Municipal Administrator John Fawcett. In recent days Schuman said he sent emails to the city and council members with an offer of $50,000 and has received no response.
At its Oct. 7 meeting council approved ordinances to purchase and demolish the property and borrow $200,000 to cover the project. The city is paying $22,500 for the property.
The school was built in 1931 and was used for that purpose until the end of the 2012-13 school year.
Fawcett was not available this morning but Assistant Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter said the city has not yet closed on the property. "We are still waiting for the financing component of the purchase. We take bids (on a $200,000 note) next week."
City Attorney Michael Marsh said this morning that legally there can be no private sale of public property. He said the city could transfer the property to another government entity or an economic development agency. "The city would have to have an auction, just like the school board planned."
Marsh said he thinks city council "made it pretty clear they did not want to get into a sale situation. They did not buy it to sell it. The plan is to tear it down and make it green space," Marsh said.
Schuman indicated he does not believe anyone wants the building torn down and no one wants the area as green space.
He wants to put his law office in the building, rent the rest of the space to other businesses or create a mixed use with offices and businesses on the first floor and housing on the second floor.
Schuman said his $50,000 price would give the city a $27,500 profit, avoid costs of mowing the law and not have to borrow $200,000.
Planning Director Heather Sayler said because the property is zoned S-3, planned institutional, it would have to be rezoned to allow for offices or any residential use. Locating a non-profit in the building would be allowed under S-3.
"It is a shame to tear down a historic building that is 80 years old, beautifies the neighborhood and which is in perfectly good shape," Schuman said.