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ELC School Board Tentative agreement given to land swap with city

Details yet to be worked out

June 20, 2018
David Swartz - Managing Editor ( , Estherville News

The Estherville Lincoln Central School Board on Monday gave tentative approval for a land swap with the City of Estherville for the location of a new pool on the north side of Thoreson Park.

The land swap would entail the 4.89 acres north and west of Thoreson currently used by the ELC FFA chapter. The city proposes giving the FFA a larger plot of land near Pearl Valley Nursing Home-approximately 8.5 acres.

In its written letter of recommendation to the school board, the Agriculture Advisory Council had a couple requests of the city. The first is to build a 60-foot field approach on the north side of the plot off Fifth Avenue north.

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"This will allow us easy and stress-free access to the field with large equipment," the advisory council letter stated. "Since the program will be receiving slightly less land than the original proposed trade, they would like for any cost to put this in to be paid for by the city."

The advisory council also requested that the current garden plots remain where they are. However, the council asked the question of whether the plots could be moved to the right-of-way of the proposed trade plot.

Jay Lausen, a member of the FFA Advisory Council addressed the school board at the beginning of Monday's meeting.

"I feel good about the recommendation to the board," he said. "It's a square-shaped location for the students." The current plot is not as uniform in shape.

Cindy Fisher addressed the board and her disapproval of the plan to locate the pool near Thoreson Park.

"It's not the best outcome for Estherville and the future," she said.

In making her recommendation to the school board, ELC superintendent Tara Paul said, "I recognize that for the district purpose and being fiscal agents of our community, the best option for the new aquatic center is to place it on the land we are willing to give next to the RWC. However, I believe it is not the directive of, or in the realm of responsibility for the (school) board to determine where a city entertainment option is placed."

The board's tentative approval comes with the directive for ELC administration to work out the contingencies laid out in the FFA Advisory Council's Communication as well as keeping the garden plot areas located along 15th street. A final draft of the agreement would need to come back to the school board for final approval once the contingencies are work out between school administration and the city.

"We have to wait for the city to purchase that land and zone it accordingly as ag land," Paul said. "There are also things we need to make sure that it's a good place long term and not just short term."



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