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Vacant old schoolhouse site may soon see action

Things have been pretty quiet around the corner of Third and Pine streets in Old Town Sherwood since the city demolished the revered 'old schoolhouse' in early December.

But all that could change if the Urban Renewal Agency Board of Directors, which is comprised of city councilors and the mayor, opens the property to development ideas.

The city's head of economic development, Tom Nelson, said he expects to send a draft Request for Proposals to the urban renewal agency board of directors in mid-April.

'It's up to them, of course, to approve it,' Nelson said.

Once the RFP goes out, interested developers would send their proposals to the city and the public will get a better idea of what may someday replace the old schoolhouse.

The property is sensitive - not just because it's smack in the middle of Old Town and acts as a sort of barrier between old and new Sherwood, but because of the emotional value many attached to the ailing old schoolhouse.

Days before the city tore down the old building, which had been failing since a former property owner lopped off the second story, community members gathered to say goodbye and many held signs saying 'put it back.'

The sentiment stemmed from a city council meeting in September, when several community members stated their preference for building a replica of the original schoolhouse and using the building for a community center.

Several city councilors agreed with this idea, including councilor Linda Henderson who said the site was 'the best the city owns for a cultural arts center,' and Mayor Keith Mays who said, 'Nothing would please me more than to rebuild what was the old schoolhouse ... it would thrill me to no end to rebuild it to its former glory.'

The urban renewal district board is expected to consider a draft RFP for the old schoolhouse property at its April 15 meeting, following the regular city council meeting.