by Max Brantley
Joann Coleman, a neighbor to the abandoned Easter Seals center on Lee Avenue that sits on land controlled by the board of the state schools for the blind and deaf, reports from a board meeting on the latest development in that long-running saga. If you don't recall, Easter Seals, which has a 99-year land lease has moved to new quarters but wants to profit off the asbestos-filled and largely abandoned building it left behind. Neighbors have resisted ideas for using the property for commercial offices or multi-unit housing because it sits at the end of a narrow residential street not designed for traffic.
So the Board for the Blind and Deaf Schools voted to proceed with the eviction of Easter Seals tonight...They instructed the Asst. Attorney General to proceed with litigation...It was pointed out that Easter Seals was aware of the Board's concern that Easter Seals was not meeting the conditions of the lease but had done nothing to cure the problems in over a year...Problems were voiced in an open meeting...a letter was sent telling them to cure or they would be in violation of their lease and Easter Seals has not begun serving students in the building for free, they have not attempted to fix the building and the only students that Easter Seals has served in the last year they charged the schools...Board Vote was 4 to 1 to proceed
That was after the Asst. Attorney General presented a series offers which included making the building into HUD apartments with mulitple units (for Disabled people) of course, they would have to get a grant to fix the building etc....(wonder how the neighbors are going to feel about that?)
The other alternative offered by the Asst. Attorney General was to sell it to Doug Martin for $600,000 (deducting $400,00 for tearing the building down) and then the School and Easter Seals would split the remaining $200,000...This would be for all 9 acres of land
His original offer was $500,000 to be split between Easter Seals and the Board with him bearing the cost of the building...Needless to say the Board wasn't happy with this offer. This offer was only for 2 acres.