June 16, 2024

UCDA takes ownership of former Lincoln school building

With financial support from others, Union County Economic Development Association purchases the former Lincoln School building with plans to convert the lot into housing.

The time was long past due. The support was there.

With assistance from community investors, Union County Development Association took ownership of the former Lincoln school building at 1001 W. Jefferson St.

“Our organization and other community investors have really been weighing in on this as the property has been underdeveloped and underused,” said association Executive Director Mindy Stalker.

The Halloween purchase date for $40,000 was from Circle of Life LLC that had the property since 2018.

Stalker said the approximate 77,000 square-feet lot is ideal for new housing. The vision is of multi-residential buildings, but how that will exactly look is far from determined. Additional analysis of the building, lot and plan to prepare for new construction comes first.

“We’ve got a lot of homework to do,” she said. “We need the best approach forward.”

Stalker said research has begun on asbestos in the building and how it can be appropriately removed before or during demolition of the building.

“That is first for us and our focus. The sooner we can do that, the more flexibility we have with everything else on the property,” she said.

Stalker said she hopes some work can start on the building in the spring, but still too early to know.

The original building goes back to 1931.

Stalker said, in past years other developers had considered renovating the building to incorporate residential living units within the structure, but a feasible plan was never attained.

“It’s continued to decline over the years,” Stalker said about the building. “Until we had community investors come to the table, it probably wouldn’t have happened,” she added about economic development’s interest in the building.

“Housing is still a priority for us,” Stalker said about economic development. The timing of the purchase also coincides with the city of Creston’s new housing-director position.

“We are thrilled with that position,” Stalker said. “He will play a part with how this develops.”

John Van Nostrand

JOHN VAN NOSTRAND

An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.