AMBOY — The nearly vacant Amboy school building sits near the intersection of Highways 30 and 169, so “The Junction” seemed like an appropriate name for the facility, which a group of community members hope to revive.
But the group’s ideas for the building also make the name appropriate: varied and diverse, and all coming together under one roof to bolster Amboy’s economy. If a feasibility study indicates the group’s business plan will work, the school site could be used as a commercial kitchen, recreation facilities, a banquet hall, an RV park and campground, and for firearms safety classes and a shooting range.
“We intend the building to be kind of a coming together,” said Amboy Area Community Club member Lisa Lindberg who is helping head up the project.
Facing a $1.2 million budget reduction, the Maple River School Board voted to close the Amboy school site, which was serving as a middle school, at the end of the 2009 school year. For the first time since 1879 Amboy was without a school.
In the years since, the building has continued to house community education classes and Early Childhood and Family Education, and the gym has been used for sports practices. The annual maintenance costs and to keep the boilers running, among other things, is about $45,000-$50,000 for the Maple River school district, said Supt. Dan Anderson.
So the district became interested in finding the right group to purchase the building, he said. But it was important that the group have the best interest for the community in mind, he said. And the district also hoped to find a buyer who would continue to rent space to the district for programs.
“We’re trying to work with the community to provide a good landing spot for that building and (make sure) it doesn’t fall into disrepair,” Anderson said. “The district has always been interested in having it stay a part of the community.”