The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 23, 2013

Geneva board to sell Spencer land

By MARGIE NETZEL - mnetzel@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

GENEVA TOWNSHIP —  The Geneva Board of Education will auction off the former site of Platt R. Spencer Elementary on Route 20, Superintendent Mary Zappitelli said, as the land does not fit into the district’s future needs.

“We simply don’t have a use for the property,” she said, “so it will be sold.”

Board president Richard Foote said the board has an obligation to liquidate the asset for the good of the district.

“We do not see the property in the long range plan for the district, so it is time to sell it and get some money out of it,” he said.

The minimum bid for the 8.84 acres of land at 4641 North Ridge Road is $50,000 and bids will be taken on March 20, Zappitelli said. Terms of the sale are cash only.

“The property can really serve almost any use,” she said.

The district has sold several parcels as part of the district-wide construction projects, which included the consolidation of Geneva and Platt R. Spencer schools. The board of education sold the former Geneva Elementary property on South Eagle Street to the city of Geneva. The land will be used for the proposed wine and culinary business incubator called The Pairings Wine and Culinary Experience.

In addition, the city will act on a contractual option and purchase the Geneva Area City School’s administration building on South Eagle Street and lease the property back to the district.

The land, which borders the former Geneva Elementary School site now owned by the city, will be purchased for an agreed sum of $103,000, sale documents show.

Assistant City Manager Jennifer Brown, who is working on the funding for Pairings, said the Pairings committee would like to use the barn at the back of the property for a start-up project called “Windows on Pairings.”

“The idea is to re-purpose the quaint, pastoral barn located on the back of the property,” Brown said. “The location is ideal to observe the construction of Pairings.”

District administrators are also in talks with the city about the future of Memorial Field, which was leased to Spire Institute but is no longer usable after a fire in the main grandstand last year.

The district has managed drainage issues at the field, maintenance of the property and damage from the fire, which was determined to be arson.

“We are looking into future uses for the field,” Zappitelli said. “We are in talks with the city for a possible collaboration for use of the land, but nothing has been decided yet.”