The Free Press, Mankato, MN


October 5, 2013

Schools show important progress


While details are still being worked out, it was clear the plan won support. Any big construction project is hard on businesses, but the scale of this one had potential to seriously harm businesses and their employees.

MnDOT should be congratulated for listening and coming up with creative alternatives.

Amboy effort at building reuse laudable

Thumbs up to members of the Amboy community for starting a process of coming up with a use for its former middle school building.

The Maple River district closed the school in 2009 in a cost cutting move, however it maintains community education and early childhood programs there. The gym has been used for sports practices.

Residents recently got together to brainstorm ideas for the building, noting that at one time, 24 teachers and staff worked there, a significant number for a small town. They have commissioned a consultant to do a feasibility study for possible building uses.

Some suggested it could serve as a retail outlet, or a house a senior center, fitness classes or be a place for pet boarding. Office space might be a possible use. Other possibilities include a commercial kitchen, recreation facilities or a banquet hall.

The Amboy Community Club is spearheading the idea generation and feasibility of the project. AgStar Financial Services donated $5,000 to the cost of a $10,000 feasibility study and the Amboy Alumni Association kicked in $1,500.

These kind of projects can be difficult to make work, but it’s good see the community being proactive and creating a new use for an old building that could eventually be a hub of community activity.

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