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Hudson (WQOW)- A growing school district may have to look elsewhere for help.
Enrollment is up 44 percent in the Hudson School District in the last 13 years. Monday night, the Hudson City Council shot down plans to rezone an old dog track. The school district was hoping to use as the site for a new school.
"The biggest issue for re-zoning the dog track is basically an economic one," says Hudson City Council President Rich Vanselow.
The Hudson School District says because of increasing enrollment, the school district is considering building another secondary school in the area. The problem is on Monday night, the city council voted 5 to 1 against extending the deadline for re-zoning the St. Croix Meadows dog track.
"Right now, this is a commercially-zoned piece of property and so they have to re-zone it to allow it to be into the public-use sector; and then it could be used for, in this case, a school," explains Dennis Neeser, the lawyer representing the dog track.
But the city doesn't want that to happen because bringing a business to the property would mean more tax revenue.
"If that property were to be developed for commercial-use, it could bring in potentially $556,000 to $1.2 million in taxes," Vanselow reveals.
The city wants to give the track more time to find a buyer, but Neeser says enough time has passed and there is no buyer in sight.
"It's been up for sale for over a half-a-dozen years," says Neeser. "You don't need posted signs on a property like this when you have 130 acres with 150,000 square-foot concrete building on it that's been vacant and unoccupied and somebody comes to town looking for a site, they pretty obviously can see it."
"It doesn't appear that it was really marketed until June of 2011 and in this type of a market, that's really not a long period of time for that type of a property," Vanselow says.
WQOW did reach out to the Hudson School District on Tuesday and they only chose to release this statement.
"The school district is disappointed in the City Council's unwillingness to work together with both the district and the St. Croix Meadows owner to find a solution that benefits all parties. At the City Council meeting, the district and the St. Croix Meadows attorney offered a number of new ideas of benefit to the city and were willing to explore other alternatives. The need for additional secondary space is evident and was recognized by Council members. The district will not be able to find another school site that offers the value that St. Croix Meadows does for a future secondary school. The Board of Education will need to consider its options and develop a plan to move forward with addressing the overcrowding and growing enrollment at both the Middle and High Schools. This is an unfortunate outcome for the community and Hudson students."
The city says voting down rezoning doesn't mean the issue is dead. It says it may revisit the idea in a few years if a business hasn't purchased the dog track.
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