The community will soon see a change in Excelsior’s landscape with the renovation of the Roosevelt High School building.
Ted Ehny works with the investment group that purchased the site. He said he assists them in locating and purchasing similar sites throughout the state. He said the group, who created a limited liability corporation for the building called Roosevelt ES, LLC, chose Roosevelt because of the definite opportunity to restore a use for the building.
“It will fulfill a definite need for the area,” he said.
Economic Development Director Melinda Mehaffy said while plans have not been announced, the site may need to be rezoned by the city before work can be completed.
Currently, the site lies in an R-2 zoning district. Churches and schools remain in a residential zoning district at times, she said. However, if the property owners decided to develop the property to increase the number of families living in the building beyond a two-family duplex, it will need to be rezoned.
While the group does not wish to publicly announce their definite plans for the site, work can already be seen at the site. Ehny said crews currently work to clear overgrown brush surrounding the building. He added they also will work to clear out the property left by the previous owner.
Jack and Denise Reese most recently lived in the building. After Jack’s death, Denise continued living alone in the building until her death earlier this year.
Ehny said detailed plans for the building will be announced shortly.
A notice on another historic property in the community recently raised some concerns for the future of The Royal.
Mehaffy said she recently spoke to Wayne Reeder, the owner of The Royal, after seeing a notice announcing a public auction posted at the site. The notice states the site will be sold at the Liberty courthouse on Aug. 26 due to delinquent property taxes on the property.
Mehaffy said Reeder told her he still planned to work with the lender to finish the project.
He told Mehaffy workers completed the work on the pillars located along Marietta Avenue, she said, and plans to tackle the roof next.
Quoting Reeder, she said he told her, “We are full steam ahead very shortly. We’ll get the roof on immediately.”
Mehaffy said the City still may encounter issues at the site.
“They did not follow the proper procedure to get the structural engineer out to check the mortar,” she said. “Because the pillars are considered a part of the structure … we now have to wait on the structural engineer who will sign off on that work that was done, because it was not done with the right inspections.”
Reeder told Mehaffy he spoke to Curtis Coons, who worked as the Jackson County Tax Collector for seven years, she said. According to the conversation, Coons is currently working with Clay County to take care of the issue.
Mehaffy said at times individuals will let their property taxes go into the third year of tax settlement before paying it all off.
“It’s not that uncommon, but when you have a development plan on it, that’s a red flag,” she said.