Thursday, December 29, 2005

Nottingham Community Center Updates

Bill Burnes, committee member for the project, updates us on progress and further project details with this recent entry (scroll to the bottom to read Bill's comments).

Also, according to an article in the latest edition of the Suburban Journal, the organizers of the effort have recently submitted an offer to purchase Nottingham School.


Anonymous said...

So, by Bill's explanation, it's the St. Gabe's Country Club, not just St. Louis Hills or 16th ward. Boy, what a relief! And here I thought we were talking about an exclusive CID boundary.

And if Nottingham is for sale, won't others have oppotunity to openly bid on this taxpayer supported property? Myself, I'd like to see a high-rise condo complex overlooking beautiful Francis Park. Just imagine the profit and tax base on that baby for developer and City!

Anonymous said...

Yes, and now that the word is out, lets see how many others put up the $$ by making an offer or shut up.

There are at least 400 families in the 63109 zip who pay Shrewsbury Pool $400 a year and can't bring a guests.In addition many more pay hundreds to belong to the Crestwood Aquatic Center and/or Indian Hills.

The interest is there. It's not a country club; and how many of you have been to one of the City Rec centers, i.e Marquette lately? I went years ago and it was dirty and dilapidated.

Talk is cheap; how is taking action on behalf of many interested residents seen as a Country Club?

Anonymous said...

Marquette is "dirty"? I guess you haven't been to City pools since the days Fairgrounds became "dirty" too.

And the City was willing to build a new rec center with indoor pool in Carondelet Park to serve all of South City, but we wouldn't want to include those "dirty" areas outside of Southwest City.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about Marquette Park being dirty and dilapidated, but the neighborhood around it sure has seen better days.

Wasn't it Richard Gephardt who was pushing for a community center/swim facility at Cardondelet Park, and not the city? That was to be funded with federal dollars, and as I recall, the consultant hired to study various possible sites ruled out Francis Park.

The 16th ward proposal is not in Francis Park, but across from it. I'm surprised this idea has gotten as far as it has without any official endorsements, except for the organizing committee.

Will any of the neighborhood organizations support the project? Would doing so violate their nonprofit status?

One of issues that seems to trouble progressives on this proposal is the idea that wealthier 16th ward residents would create a local facility, accessible only to them, rather than paying into a city wide fund to improve all community centers.

However, things could ultimately turn into a double-hit on 16th ward residents if a plan to improve community centers city-wide is presented to voters. 16th ward residents might end up paying into a local CID, and also paying for a city wide bond issue.

Then, 16th ward residents would be paying double again: for taxes to fund public schools they don't use much now, and to fund city wide community centers they likely wouldn't use much either.

Such is the price of maintaining exclusivity?

Anonymous said...

There is no current sale to make an offer. But seeing as $1.1 million is the Country Club's offer, another could easily beat that, if SLPS ever held a formal sale. By the way, where is the not-yet-created CID coming up with tangible financing to make a $1.1 million offer?

Anonymous said...

The financing to purchase the property is contingent on approval of the CID.

Without CID approval, the sale contract will not close.

Regardless of the offer and proposed CID, doesn't the Board of Education have an established procedure for selling school district real estate?

I would think the first step would be for the school board to determine the property "surplus".

After that, you'd think they'd have to open the sale up to public (perhaps sealed) bids.

Then maybe the school board could select the offer from the CID backers, even if it wasn't for the highest price, so long as the school board determined a community center to be the most appropriate reuse of the property.

I wonder if neighborhood and aldermanic support would be a deciding factor in making that decision?

Anonymous said...

Ok, so the financing is contingent upon the CID approval, and the School Board must follow a set, open process for selling "surplus" properties.

But wouldn't the CID have to be decided before the School Board could select the "Community Center" bid? Afterall, why would the School Board select the CID group's bid and risk the CID not being approved by residents?

Yet the CID won't be decided until it's known whether Nottingham is available?! Yikes, what a Catch-22 for the Country-Club fans!

Anonymous said...

^ I think anonymous is hitting on one of the biggest challenges for the CID proponents.

If an offeror is not really qualified to purchase real estate, how serious can the seller take the offer?

And if the school district decides to go through the process to deem the property surplus (if that is indeed required), and solicit for competing proposals, then the CID backers efforts to pass the CID vote could prove moot if a better buyer appears.

Ideally, if you're a CID proponent, you would want to be able to demonstrate to voters that you have site control over the school property, with the only remaining step in making the project reality being voter approval.

Looking at it another way, if the City were to go through the whole process of holding an election for the CID, only to have the school board later decide not to sell the property, wouldn't that amount to a collosal waste of time and effort?

I can't imagine anyone wanting to go through all of that.

It would be nice if someone would give a walk-through explanation of how all of this is supposed to happen.

Regardless, at this stage, the ball is in the school board's court.

One option for them is to do nothing. They certainly are not required to respond to an unsolicited proposal.

bburnes said...

Hello, bloggers.

Just reading some of the earlier posts and thought I'd respond to the question of how the purchase of the property could work...

Yes, the proposed purchase is contingent upon the creation of CID. Like many real estate proposals, our offer is contingent upon financing. Our choice is to either set up the CID first and then make an offer...or make a contingent offer and then set up the CID.

Our preference is to make the offer and have an agreement with School Board...then set up CID. Anonymous is correct about the time and effort involved in setting up CID and not being sure if we have a location. Secondly, the liklihood that residents would vote in the affirmative without a location is very small. I know I would not vote for such a thing without knowing the location.

The School Board probably doesn't risk too much if we would not be successful on CID. They could either sell to someone else or change mind and decide not to sell at all.

We remain hopeful that, over time, an agreement is possible with the Board.


Anonymous said...

Fat chance you'll raise my taxes to buy a school already supported by my current taxes!