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Sale of Tonawanda’s Central School to Hunt is approved

After the previous sale of the closed Central School building fell through this summer, the Tonawanda City School District found another buyer and, last week at its regular meeting, the Board of Education unanimously approved selling the property to Hunt and Associates for $165,000.

The new deal also provides the district with free storage space in Central for school records for three years. Residents must approve the sale of Central School via a referendum prior to the district finalizing the deal, but a ballot date has not been set at this point. The board approved the sale without discussion or advance notice during its regular meeting last week.

The district previously sold Central to developer David Capretto in April for $220,000, and city residents approved the purchase 722-311. However, Capretto informed the district soon afterwards that he was unable to receive special designations for tax and funding purposes and walked away from the deal.

Throughout the year, a citizens group has lobbied the district and city officials for a city takeover of Central, in order to convert the building into a community center. Gayle Syposs, chairwoman of the citizens group, said in July, after the Capretto deal fell apart, that the group would renew its efforts.

However, Common Council President Carleton Zeisz said Monday that the discussion went nowhere with the Council.

Prior to putting Central on the market, the district twice offered the building to the city, but the Council turned it down. “When the initial sale [fell] through, the school board declared their intent to find another buyer,” Zeisz said. “It’s always been in the school board’s hands.”