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December 12, 2012 05:59 PM

Neighbors Don't Want Longfellow To Sit Empty

Sioux Falls, SD

The city of Sioux Falls is deciding if it wants to take over an old school in a historic part of the city.

Community development director Darrin Smith says the school district has approached the city about taking over Longfellow Elementary School when three district schools are consolidated into one in a few years.

It's likely that the city of Sioux Falls would purchase the school for a low price, possibly even a dollar.

Neighbors are disappointed that the school district will be moving students out and no longer be using the building by 2015.

"I feel it to be a little disheartening because it's part of the appeal of the neighborhood. It's part of why we chose this home. A small town feel, and neighborhood park, and knowing your neighbors so we're a little disheartened by it," Peggy Nilsen said.

Sitting in the central part of Sioux Falls, neighbors say Longfellow Elementary School has been an asset to the neighborhood for decades. And they hope it continues to be an asset; that's why they hope something is done with the school when it isn't used anymore. It's why neighbors are glad to know the city is looking into using the building.

"I would have to hear what they are going to do with it, but just so it's not sitting empty and gets vandalized or whatever.  As long as it's being used," neighbor Faith Erickson said.

Nilsen lives just a few blocks away and hopes that if the city chooses to buy the building from the school district that it would continue to preserve the building.

"They certainly seem to want to revitalize the downtown area and we hope that need and trend will continue. We hope it's utilized for something good. We trust their instincts. We vote them into office so hopefully they'll make good decisions on our behalf," Nilsen said.

Others hope that the building is not only preserved but that kids still continue to use the property for years to come.

"It's made for kids so I think that's the way they should keep it," Erickson said.

The city says the idea of taking over the building is very preliminary. It's asking city departments if they have any use for the building.

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