Members of the Amboy Community Club stepped forward, believing that the city of about 530 people has suffered from the loss of the school due to the lack of regular traffic and activities. Recently the School Board voted to approve an option to purchase, which gives the group one year to conduct a feasibility study. The building would be sold for $1,000.
On “The Junction” web page of the city of Amboy’s website it states:
“Downtown businesses have seen a decline in revenue, activities for kids and families are less available and overall local employment is down. Seniors are leaving the community. As a result, a group of local citizens formed to investigate developing the school site into a project that would help to bring business and families back to Amboy.”
The school building is composed of three sections built in 1896, 1929 and 1955, all of which are up to building codes. The group has hired a consultant, and the six-month feasibility study will cost $10,000.
“We will determine whether our many ideas for this school would make financial sense,” said Lindberg, owner of the Amboy Cottage Cafe. “It needs to make sense. It’s a huge project.”
AgStar Financial Services provided a $5,000 grant and the Amboy Alumni Association provided $1,500. The rest will be funded by donations.
If the group moves forward with the purchase, the next step will be to prioritize renovations and develop a budget. (Lindberg said it’s too early to ballpark the total cost of the project.) She said grants will be among the avenues the group explores to pay for renovations.
Among other things, the building will need roofing repairs, elevator updating, a sprinkler system, sanitary sewer repairs, and a replacement of the boiler system with gas units.
An early timeline indicates the recreation facilities, firearms area, commercial kitchen and banquet facilities would be open by late 2014 or early 2015. School activities would continue during the construction.