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Kenmore makes it easier to redevelop two schools into housing

Roosevelt Elementary School and Kenmore Middle School are scheduled to close in June.

And although it’s unclear whether the school district has plans for the buildings, village officials are anticipating that the buildings will be empty and eventually sold.

That is what prompted village officials Tuesday to take steps that would make redevelopment of the buildings more economically viable.

The Village Board on Tuesday night authorized a partial exemption from real property taxation and special levies for non-residential property converted to a mix of residential and commercial uses.

The Ken-Ton School Board also approved the exemption last month.

“The idea behind it is to allow the developers time to recoup their investment into the property,” Village Clerk-Treasurer Kathleen P. Johnson said.

For the first eight years of the exemption, the developer pays taxes only on the value of the property before any improvements or conversions were made. Then, in years nine through 12, that exemption gradually declines. By year 13, taxes are paid on the full assessed value of the redeveloped property.

Johnson said the village is trying to be “proactive.”

“We wanted to make sure we have in place this legislation, which will hopefully encourage developers to come in and look at potential reuse for those buildings, or any other buildings located in the village,” she said.

The exemption would also assist a development group that is currently working toward purchasing the former St. Paul’s School on Victoria Boulevard, which closed in 2010. The group has plans to convert the school into a “faith-based community” of apartments geared toward St. Paul’s parishioners.

Johnson said if the two Ken-Ton schools are sold, officials would like to see adaptive reuses similar to what’s happening now at the former Washington School at One Delaware Road, which Ellicott Development is converting into mixed-use residential and commercial.

“The village has a lot to offer – excellent emergency services, it’s a great walkable community,” said Johnson. “We want to have developers really take a serious look at the wonderful things that Kenmore can offer when they’re looking at these buildings.”

Also Tuesday, Johnson was appointed to another two-year term as clerk-treasurer, a position she has held since 2001. Mayor Pat Mang and Trustees Katherine Bestine and R. Timothy McCarthy were sworn in by Village Justice Scott F. Riordan to new four-year terms.