Uniontown Area OKs sale of properties

| Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

Uniontown Area School Board member Thomas “Bill” Gerke asked why the school district lost more than $200,000 when it agreed Monday night to sell the former kindergarten center to Gallatin Capital Partners, a company owned by Steve Neubauer, for $180,000 — the highest bid during a recent public auction.

Before the 8-1 vote was taken, Gerke asked how much the school district paid for the Iowa Street building.

Solicitor Sam Davis said the district purchased the building for $302,000 on Jan. 16, 2003, to house the district's kindergarten students.

“Did the property depreciate 40 percent over the last 10 years?” Gerke asked.

“It seems like the property valuations in the city of Uniontown have remained pretty steady during the past decade,” Davis responded. “We didn't see the large decreases in property values like some parts of the country have seen. I'm sure there were some declines in 2008 when the recent economic recession hit.”

After the school district purchased the building, it spent an estimated $100,000 in renovations.

Although Gerke voted to sell the building, school board President Lloyd Williams opposed the move.

“I feel the building is worth more to us than $180,000,” Williams said. “We have $402,000 invested in the building.”

The board voted unanimously to sell the Central Administration Building on East Church Street to Gallatin Capital Partners for $150,000 — the highest bid during a public auction.

After the meeting, Neubauer said he and his oldest son Joe purchased the two properties in the city because they want to expand the family business, Neubauer Flowers located on Gallatin Avenue and the Market House on East Church Street.

Although he said he is unsure how he will use the Central Administration Building, Neubauer said he plans to offer various floral classes at the kindergarten center.

“We're planning to put the building to use,” he said. “We want to invite the public for floral classes. We're thinking about having a girls' night out for women where they will learn how to make wreaths for their homes. We are considering the idea of hosting kids' parties and offering space for garden clubs and various organizations to meet.”

Neubauer said he wants to give back to the Fayette County and Uniontown communities.

“Uniontown and Fayette County have been really good to us and have continued to support our businesses,” Neubauer said. “We really appreciate the community's support, and we want to show our appreciation.”

In other business, the school board delayed action on proposed changes to a recently negotiated bus contract until Davis has an opportunity to review those changes and make recommendations. The bus contract changes will be discussed during the next board meeting scheduled for 6:25 p.m. Dec. 4.

Cindy Ekas is a freelance writer.

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