Iola offers lots

Register City Editor

Iola would give USD 257 four lots in the Cedarbrook Addition, with infrastructure in place, if the district would build houses there, City Administrator Judy Brigham told board members Monday night.
The addition will have more than 60 lots, with 30 already assigned to Carlson-Gardner, a private de-veloper from Springfield Mo.
Brigham said the lots would be ready for construction by August.
The district’s building trades class has erected houses in Gas and LaHarpe, but a site for 2009-10 hasn’t yet been determined. Board members took no action, but several indicated interest in the offer.
Brigham also told board members that a new three-year Neighborhood Revitalization Program would likely start June 1.
The program encourages development and improvement of residential and business properties through tax abatement, less a 5 percent administrative charge collected by Allen County. Abatement runs for six years, with an additional four years at 80, 60, 40 and 20 percent reductions. Improvements valuing at least $5,000 must be made to take part in the program, Brigham said.
The current three-year program expires May 31. The new one will include most of town, except areas north of Garfield Street.
Brigham said the idea was to encourage improvements “in the town’s core and not have all new development on the fringe.”
USD 257, the county and Allen County Community College signed on with the city for the first program and are being asked to join again.

DAVID GROVER, Iola High School principal, asked board approval to pursue an expansion of Crossroads Educational Learning Center in Gas. He proposed extending hours into late evening so adults could attend and earn a high school diploma.
As is, the school operates on a traditional day schedule and is a refuge for high school students who haven’t been able to adapt to a traditional setting.
“We have a fairly significant number of adults in Allen County who don’t have high school diplomas,” Dr. Craig Neuenswander, superintendent of schools, said. “This would give them another opportunity.”
Grover said specific plans haven’t been discussed but that no additional staff would be needed, excepting perhaps a technology assistant.

FOLLOWING a 20-minute executive session, board members announced the retirement of Cecelia Orcutt, secondary schools art instructor, and Shirley Catron, longtime bus driver. They approved the transfer of Amy Shannon to Orcutt’s position from an elementary art position.
They also scheduled a planning retreat for the evening of June 3.