By DANN HAYES
The Grinnell-Newburg Board of Education has begun actions to acquire the RC Industries land on the western edge of Grinnell at a meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 23.
The board voted to start the process through legal channels to acquire the property through eminent domain.
Only Carol Wilhelm, board member from District 3, voted against the land acquisition.
The process, Superintendent Todd Abrahamson said, will include a number of opportunities for the general public to become involved as the process cointinues.
He also said that the board can stop the proceedings at any time.
According to J.T. Anderson, business manager for the school district, the board approved the use of eminent domain to potentially acquire the land.
“We’ve tried to negotiate in good faith with the property owner,” Anderson said. “But we are so are apart in price.”
Anderson said that if the process is followed to the end, a judge and/or jury could determine a sale price for the land.
According to the resolution filed by the school district, “The [Grinnell School} Board has … determined that use of the real estate … is necessary to construct an elementary PreK-6 building/transportation building, playground and athletic fields, and ancillary facilities for the use, safety ad/or benefit of students of the District …”
Recently, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) gave the site a clean bill of health where environmental issues are concerned.
RC Industries, and Miracle Recreation Co., used large quantities of solvents, paints and other chemicals in their manufacturing process.
But after long-term monitoring and numerous tests, the 32-acre site was reclassified.
According to Mel Pins, program coordinator, Iowa Brownfield Redevelop Program with the DNR, the is no evidence of any … impacts or any environmental or public health risk to stop possible construction on the site.
To move forward with the process, the following steps will be followed:
• File application with chief judge of Poweshik County
• Application is filed with county recorder and sent to all individuals with an interest in the property
• Chief judge selects six individuals from the Compensation Commission
• File appraisal with county sheriff
• Issue a dollar amount on the propertyIowa.”