AFSA charter school coming to Little Canada

Students from the Vadnais Heights-based Academy For Sciences and Agriculture will be heading to Little Canada for class in the near future.

On Feb. 13 the Little Canada City Council approved final development agreements with the charter school for it to take over a former commercial space at 2925 Country Drive.

City Administrator Chris Heineman said prior to the approval that council discussions on the matter stretched back into September of last year, and council members had little to say on it now that it was at the finish line.

“Glad to get this done,” said council member Rick Montour.

According to city documents, pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students will attend the new Little Canada school location.

The city has contingency plans written into its planned unit development agreement with the school should issues arise.

For instance, if there are backups or significant traffic issues on Country Drive because of it, the school will be required to make changes to the site layout to improve the movement of cars on the property.

The academy is a nonprofit, and is taking a 30,000-square-foot commercial property off the city tax rolls. The building’s estimated 2018 market value was about $2.6 million.

The school and city entered into a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement as part of the planned unit development process, meaning the academy’s entrance into the city won’t mean a total loss, revenue-wise.

Estimations in city documents based on 2018 tax rates said the school could pay the city around $13,600 annually, per the PILOT agreement.

Heineman said the school closed its purchase of the building in December.

“They are looking forward to getting into the building and getting into the renovation process in the coming weeks and months,” he said.

 

—Mike Munzenrider

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