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What will happen with old Mora High School site?

The site of the old Mora High School has been a recent topic of discussion for Kanabec County and Mora city officials.

According to Mora community developer Kirsten Faurie, the city and school have a shared interest in creating housing at the Maple Avenue site.

"Both the school and the city have an interest in creating new, quality housing for area families," Faurie wrote in an email.

The decision of how and to whom the property should be sold is up to the Mora School District, which owns the land. The city's ability to direct what is developed there is limited to the property's zoning.

Faurie and Kanabec County EDA director Jim Hartshorn have engaged the school board in conversations about development.

In an email, Faurie outlined the district's potential avenues for selling the land. The first, and most simple, would be to hire a realtor.

"This is fine, but does not give the school or city much say in what is done with the property after," Faurie said. "There is the risk of it sitting vacant, or being developed in a piecemeal way over time."

Both Faurie and Hartshorn have recommended going through a request for proposal process.

"This process essentially markets the site and asks housing developers to submit their proposals for development, as well as the price they are offering," Faurie explained. "With this process, the school can award the sale to the best project. The goal is to help guide a coordinated, unified housing development."

At Tuesday’s Kanabec County Board meeting, Hartshorn said the district is invested in what becomes of the former high school.

"They don't know yet what they want to ask," Hartshorn explained. "There will be a minimum asking price. They don't know what that would be yet. They have an old appraisal, but it includes the building. There's not a lot of comparables for this."

Demolition of the old high school will take place by the end of the year.

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