Cleveland Officials Want To Get Started Soon On Taking Down Cleveland High Dome; Limited Tax Hike Proposed

Monday, February 24, 2014 - by Hollie Webb

Cleveland Vice Mayor Avery Johnson told the City Council on Monday he is concerned about new cracks developing in the dome at Cleveland High. He said, "We really need to somehow or another come up with some funds to de-comission that building before it falls down."

Director of Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff agreed. He said, "I would like to get started on the demolition as soon as possible."

Dr. Ringstaff also told the Council it would be more expensive in the long run if the building collapsed before it was demolished.

He said the deconstruction process would involve building a wall where the dome connects to the rest of the school.

He said, "You can't just implode it and carry it out, it's connected to the building." From talking to its architect, the School Board said the cost of the demolition would be anywhere from $170,000 to $300,000.

However, Dr. Ringstaff pointed out that they would not be able to take bids on the demolition part of the project until they paid their bill to the architect. Currently, the Board must pay its architect $71,000.

Until bids are made, he said they would not have an exact number for the total price.

Funding the demolition and the construction of a new gym has been discussed for weeks. Vice Mayor Johnson suggested a limited-time tax increase of $.09. He said once the projects were completed, the tax cut could be reapplied.

Councilman David May Jr. said, "I have a problem spending money we don't have."

Councilman Richard Banks suggested the school board should get the community involved as much as possible. He said once the dome is demolished, the school board could sell bricks from the building to previous Cleveland High graduates as another way of funding.

Councilman Banks also made a motion for the city to auction off an old building as another way of funding the school board's projects. The building had been unused for several years and the city was already planning to auction it. At one point in time, the building was appraised at $200,000. This motion passed unanimously.

During the meeting, a woman who lives on Shady Lane presented a problem to the council. She said there are cars on her street that had been parked there for several years. She said when it snowed, a fire truck had to go through her yard to get around the cars. The council said it would look into this issue.

Several rezoning resolutions were also passed. At 1996 Westland Drive, 10.6 acres were rezoned from Mixed Use to Light Industry District. At 2350 Blackburn Road, 12.2 acres were rezoned from Light Industry District to Multi-Family Residential District. On 25th Street NW, .7 acres were rezoned from Single Family Residential District to Professional Institutional District.

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