A plan for what to do with the New Century and Sugar Creek Elementary school buildings is a long way off, but the city is getting the ball rolling with a community survey.
The survey, which is posted on the city website and Facebook page and Verona Area Chamber of Commerce website, is primarily aimed at people who own, run or hope to run a small business in the next few years. It’s been discussed in recent months by the Community Development Authority, a city commission that previously hadn’t met for several years.
Part of the reason for the survey is to consider a possible use for the century-old NCS building, which sits on the West Verona Avenue property that’s being acquired from the Verona Area School District after the new high school opens in fall 2020. One suggested use has been a business incubator of sorts.
That would make some sense, given its location, its two-story layout and the fact that Verona has no such spaces. But economic development manager Dayna Sarver told the Press there’s no evidence either way to show whether the market is appropriate.
“My experience and training has said we need to know what’s actually needed,” she explained. “Is that the highest and best use for that space?”
The Sugar Creek site, with a network of winding corridors in a 60-plus-year-old building, has long been assumed to be a target for redevelopment, and the city at one point had requested the site be “clean” – with no building on it – before it is transferred. But there is no plan for it, and this is just the beginning, Sarver said.
The 17-question survey asks respondents how they feel about Verona’s business climate, about their individual situations, interests, challenges and business potential, their knowledge of business development programs and how they get local information.
The survey will be open until March 1.
Sarver said she expects to discuss the results at the CDA’s next meeting, Feb. 28.