Towns, school district line up appraisals

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Region 16 is preparing to sell Community School in Prospect. –RA ARCHIVE
Region 16 is preparing to sell Community School in Prospect. –RA ARCHIVE

PROSPECT — As the Region 16 school district prepares to sell Community School, all three parties with a vested interest have gotten an appraisal. Though only two have made their figures public, thus far.

Beacon Falls, Prospect and Region 16, which oversees schools in the two towns, have all received separate appraisals on the Community School property. However, only Region 16 and Beacon Falls have revealed their respective appraisals.

The school, which is located at 12 Center St. in Prospect, was closed at the end of the last school year. Students began attending the newly-constructed Prospect Elementary School in August.

The town of Prospect is interested in buying the Community School property from the Region.
Voters in Beacon Falls and Prospect will ultimately have to approve the sale of the property. If Prospect moves forward with buying it, the purchase will have to be approved by voters in the town. The money from the sale will be returned to the towns.

If the Region and Prospect agree to a deal, they are the only two parties that have to get an appraisal. However, Beacon Falls officials decided to move forward with their own appraisal for good measure.

“This gives us a starting point for negotiations,” Beacon Falls First Selectman Christopher Bielik said.

At Monday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Bielik said the town’s appraisal, which was completed by the Shelton-based Sheehy Associates, came in at $1,510,000.

Region 16 received a $1,225,000 appraisal on the property in June from Arthur B. Estrada & Associates, Inc. The appraisal reflects the “as is” market value and market conditions existing on April 29, 2015, the appraisal stated.

On Tuesday night, Prospect Town Council member and Land Use Subcommittee Chair Theresa Graveline said the town received its appraisal approximately a month ago in executive session.

“At that time we decided we would make the appraisal public knowledge once we had the inspection report. In the interim we never received an inspection report. We never heard from the guy we hired,” Graveline said.

The council declined to make its appraisal public Tuesday night when asked by a reporter.

Town Council member Patricia Geary said the council should stick to its plan to only release the appraisal once it has had an inspection completed.

“I think we should stay with what we originally decided because I think [the inspection report] is an important consideration in the whole picture,” Geary said.

The council has since hired a new inspector, Joe Schipani of the Collinsville-based Resource Monitoring Services, to complete an inspection of the school.

The council expects to present the appraisal and the inspection report at its next regular meeting on Oct. 6. The meeting is at Community School.

“I think we are being prudent because we want to put information out there that is complete information and not part of the information,” Graveline said.

Land records available on the town of Prospect’s website list the appraisal of the property at about $4.2 million. This appraisal is based on the market value of real property at the time of the last revaluation in Prospect, which was in 2011, the property record card states.

Region 16 Superintendent of Schools Michael Yamin said he would like to sit down with officials from both towns and work out an agreement that is mutually beneficial. He added the Region has nothing to gain from the sale of the school.

Bielik said he would like to wrap up the sale of the school as quickly as possible.

“I spoke with Region 16 Superintendent Yamin last week and his intention is to try and get this sale moving as quickly as possible. I concur with that. As soon as we can get all three of those numbers on the record, and we can start this process with Mayor Chatfield and his group, we can hopefully come to an amicable solution to how much it should cost the town of Prospect if they want to buy Community School,” Bielik said.

Elio Gugliotti contributed to this article.