By Omar Powell
Grand Ledge Gazette Writer
“I think it is a great use of a building that is very special to the city,” said Jannee Penfield, Grand Ledge resident.
Greenwood Elementary closed its doors 15 months ago, at the conclusion of the 2009-2010 school year. “The whole state of Michigan has lost population over the last seven, eight years. The school system has less resources and enrollment,” said City Administrator Jon Bayless.
Commercial real estate broker Eric Rosekrans said, “Vacant buildings are never good for an area. Use is important but a lively, active property is good for everyone.”
Separated by only 0.4 miles from City Hall (click here for map), Greenwood is the property of the Grand Ledge Public School system.
“I think overall it would be favorable, I think the citizens in general think it is a good idea to find a good re-use for the school,” said Bayliss. “It is a logical move to consider; I think it would go over pretty well,” when asked about the potential move.
“I’m glad something would go in there and it not be empty,” said April Gonzales, Sports Stop employee and Grand Ledge resident.
City Hall is 8,000 square feet; the Greenwood School is 30,000 feet. The school also has a playground, gymnasium and kitchen, making the building more versatile. Greenwood offers new opportunities the current City Hall cannot, because of its size.
With City Hall at Greenwood, the current City Hall location’s fate is still in the balance. “One option would be to sell the building; another is to keep it. Use it for something else. One option would be to demolish it. The future of this building is undetermined,” said Bayless.
The Board of Education has recently asked for a 25-year deed restriction, if the City sells the building, ensuring the school system would have a share of the sale. Negotiations are still in progress.