Alberta School land swap may spin economic development - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Alberta School land swap may spin economic development

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TUSCALOOSA - AL -

  A land swapping deal is in the works to rebuild a Tuscaloosa School destroyed by last year's tornado outbreak.

  Where Alberta Elementary school sat won't change but its surroundings will.

   A sign on the front the empty lot 'promising to rebuild' has been up for awhile.  It may finally happen, if a land swapping deal takes place.  The city wants a green space behind the old school lot and in exchange the city is willing to give the school system seven acres next to the school lot which it bought from the owners of the former Graceland Apartments.

"It would be a greater engagement with the community to have an East-West layout," says Jeff Motz who is a mapping expert for the city.

 If the swap happens, the New Alberta Elementary would face the community instead of University Boulevard as it did before it was demolished.

Superintendent Paul McKendrick is seriously considering the offer.  He says the school-owned lot the city wants is hilly compared to the property the city is offering.  "After we do some site work on it -- its flat. Its right next to the building."

 Evelyn Sesson lives across the street from the proposed site.  By the time a new Alberta school is built, her children will attend.  "I think it will give the kids and school more room to grow because as they get older you need more space."

 That green space lot the city is after will be used to replace homes also destroyed by the tornado.  City spokeswoman, Deidre Stalnaker says they are also hoping to use property near University Boulevard to rebuild fire station no.4 which was also destroyed by the storm and build a business incubator to help re-stir economic development and revitalize the area.

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