It has been an eyesore and safety hazard for a number of years and the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor is hoping to soon tear it down.
The Town of Grand Falls-Windsor is now the owner of the former G.F.A. Elementary School.
“The legal work is all taken care of,” said Councilor Roger Barnett, chair of the public works and planning committee, adding the legal work was been completed over the last couple of weeks. “It has taken some time. We did take ownership of this property through a tax sale that took place last fall. And the previous owner is an American citizen so that complicated the whole situation as well, getting through all the legal issues.”
When council discussed whether or not to bid on the property in the tax sale on Nov. 4, Mr. Barnett said, one of the stipulations that they put on the sale of this property for anybody else that was interested was that it had to be demolished and the site remediated within three months.
“Now we’re going to go a little bit longer, obviously because that three months was going back to the later part of last year,” Coun. Barnett said. “That was one of the stipulations that we put there in relation to that tax sale and as it turns out we were the successful bidder on the property and it was always our intention if we did take ownership of it, to demolish the property and remediate the site.”
Coun. Barnett said the Town of Grand Falls-Windsor paid just over $25,000 for the building.
“Over the last two years there have been two fires in that building and for that reason alone it’s a safety hazard and an eyesore,” Coun. Barnett said. “A lot of people over the last little while were after us to have the property demolished, but we weren’t the owners at the time so there was little that we could do.”
Coun. Barnett said the fact that the property is a safety hazard and eyesore made it was important for the Town to take ownership of it, adding the school has gone through several owners since the time it closed.
“The last person who owned this property was an American citizen and we could never get a hold of the gentleman,” Coun. Barnett said. “Even when these fires had occurred, we had difficulty in trying to reach him or relaying the message about the fires that occurred in the building.”
Coun. Barnett said in addition to buying the property and having the building demolished and the site remediated, council is also going to speak with Nova Central School District who owns the land adjacent to the G.F.A. parcel of land to determine the availability of that land.
“That way we would have a larger area then for possible future development,” Coun. Barnett said. “Now we’re looking at remediating this site, demolishing what’s left of that building, cleaning up the site and depending on what the school board has there in terms of land, looking at possible future development for housing.”
The tender documents are now being prepared, Coun. Barnett said, and tenders should be called within the next couple of weeks. He added though council didn’t budget any money for the demolition of the building, he is sure they can find it somewhere.
“We want to get moving on this thing so that depending on the tenders and the bids that are submitted, etc., that we can get this approved though the financial committee and award the contract and get this work done as quickly as possible in the spring as soon as the snow is gone,” Coun. Barnett said. “We think that area, depending on how much land is available there, would be a nice addition to the town.”