Council discusses possible sale of elementary school to laboratory

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Lansing city council members discussed the possible sale of the former Moores Park Elementary School to PSO Laboratory LLC during their meeting Monday, Feb. 10.

CityCouncil

The council briefly discussed a letter in favor of the sale from Vice President Chong-Anna Canfora on behalf of the Moores Park Neighborhood Organization, and promptly moved the issue to the development and planning division.

Moores Park Elementary, located at 316 Moores River Drive, closed in 2009.  PSO Laboratory LLC offered to purchase the property for $260,000, but the district will not proceed until it has been rezoned.

Public opinion

President of the Moores Park Neighborhood Organization Paul Johns said that while “it’s hard to get every neighbor to vote,” most of the neighborhood’s citizens who have voiced their opinion support the sale of the school.

“The overwhelming majority absolutely approve of it,” he said.

Johns personally supports the proposed purchase simply because he would like to see the building occupied.  “It’s been dormant for years,” he said.

John Kaczynski, the director of the Center for Public Policy and Service at Saginaw Valley State University, said he attends as many city council meetings as possible to analyze policy and lobbying.  He said he is aware of the debate about Moores Park Elementary from the discussion at previous meetings.

Kaczynski shares Johns’ opinion. He said that it is important to assess the issue from a cost-benefit standpoint.  “An empty building is an empty building,” he said.  “Why not sell it and make a profit?”

No Niowave

Aside from the necessity for a zoning variance, PSO Laboratory’s offer has met resistance from those concerned that it may have other problems. Residents remember the controversy surrounding Niowave, Inc., which raised concerns about safety and also whether the building changed the character of the Walnut Neighborhood.

“They’re not a Niowave,” said Johns.  “They keep almost no toxic material on their campus.”  He said that the waste they generate could be taken out in a “gallon bucket.”

— Colleen Otte

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