Duluth school district reduces offer for church land in PiedmontThe Duluth school district has cut in half its offer to Christ Lutheran Church in Piedmont Heights for land it wants to purchase for recreation space, according to a document disseminated to church members.
By: Jana Hollingsworth, Duluth News Tribune
The Duluth school district has cut in half its offer to Christ Lutheran Church in Piedmont Heights for land it wants to purchase for recreation space, according to a document disseminated to church members.
The church will vote on the district’s offer of $150,000 for about 2.5 acres of land for physical education and play space for Piedmont Elementary School at an Oct. 17 meeting of the congregation.
The district and the church, 2415 Ensign St., have been negotiating the sale for about three years. The Duluth School Board approved a resolution authorizing the purchase price in June, but the district said it couldn’t disclose the price until the congregation voted on the matter.
Materials given to church members in 2011 indicated the district had offered the church $295,000 for the land at that time. Since then, the Minnesota Department of Education has relaxed green space guidelines for new urban schools.
The board, which was scheduled to vote on the sale last November, postponed the decision, saying more discussion was needed. It met in closed session about the land in March.
Superintendent Bill Gronseth said Friday that if the church sells the property to the district, the school won’t use it for recess on a daily basis because the land isn’t right next to the school. Because students would have to cross Ensign Street and the church’s parking lot to reach the field, the school would use crosswalk flags with adult supervision.
Not every elementary school in the district has its own green space for play areas, but every elementary school has access to space nearby, Gronseth said, through agreements with recreation centers, for example.
Gronseth declined to comment on the purchase price. A call to the church’s council president, Tom Ochocki, wasn’t immediately returned Friday.