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What to do with an old school?

Posted by Ralph Ranalli June 18, 2007 08:53 AM


The City Council has approved a call for proposals to reuse the former Banks School building on Main Street, and it does not include several changes made last month to increase the ability of local nonprofit groups to enter the bidding process.

The city is putting the building up for lease so that it can be developed into affordable rental housing, a place providing services for the developmentally disabled, or a combination of those uses.

The version of the request for proposals that was passed at last Monday's meeting will rank submissions according to how much rent income the proposal would provide for the city.

The version drafted in May had established a point system for ranking according to three principles other than rent: the amount of affordable housing to be provided, the amount and quality of services to be provided to the developmentally disabled, and the inclusion of "green" or environmentally friendly building practices.

The Waltham Alliance to Create Housing had argued that using rent income as a primary criterion would put nonprofit organizations applying to use the building at a disadvantage.

David H. Marcou, Jr., the at-large councilor who chairs the council's Request for Proposals Committee, said that the city law department had informed them that ranking proposals in any other way would be subjective and therefore illegal.

- Stephanie V. Siek

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