city OK's school land agreement

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 16:26 PM
Written by Stan Maddux
Category: Local News

A month after voting it down, the city council in LaPorte approved an exchange of land for road repairs with the school corporation.

The school corporation will receive a 2.7 acre parcel owned by the city at Kesling Middle School.

In return, $57,000 in upgrades will be done to the road leading to the athletic fields at the adjacent city-owned Kesling Park.

The amount of roadwork equals the appraised value of the small parcel the school district wants to help in the design of the new school for grades 5 & 6 beside Kesling Middle School, said mayor Blair Milo.

''I'm very excited to have the city partner in what I think is going to be a really amazing project,'' said Milo.

Helping to sway the council was the school corporation agreeing to consider allowing historic designation status for Boston Middle School to secure long term the future of the two-story brick structure erected in 1923.

Boston will close when the new school opens and become home to school administrative offices and other departments like food service.

All students in grades 6-8 will be at both facilities on what's dubbed the new Kesling campus.

Councilman Tim Stabosz, a local preservationist, cast the only dissenting vote despite pleased with the school corporation agreeing to be open minded about historic designation status for Boston.

Historic designation would allow changes to the interior during any future remodeling but guarantee the uniquely designed exterior remain untouched, said Stabosz.

Stabosz said he voted against the exchange because he wanted Scott Field owned by the school corporation given to the city.

The city now leases the park on E. Jefferson Ave. for $1 annually.

He said the city owning the park in an economically challenged area would remove any stumbling blocks police might run into enforcing laws on what's legally school corporation land.

''We are the public safety entity. It want it to be our domain,'' said Stabosz.