TRAVERSE CITY — The vacant Grand Traverse Overall Supply Company site and adjacent Norris Elementary School site in Elmwood Township have a new owner after years of negotiations.
Grand Traverse Recreation Art Center, LLC, the only bidder interested in the properties, closed a deal with Leelanau County and Traverse City Area Public Schools officials on Monday.
Leelanau County owned the Grand Traverse Overall Supply Company site where a laundry was located for more than 50 years and polluted the area with dry cleaning chemicals. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency declared it a Superfund site several years ago.
"It is a huge accomplishment that the properties are going to go back on the tax rolls and there can be redevelopment back on the sites," said Trudy Galla, Leelanau County's planning and community development director.
GTRAC paid $42,500 to the county and $300,000 to TCAPS, which owned the Norris School. TCAPS interim Superintendent Paul Soma said GTRAC members bid on the property three years ago but were held up by the EPA, which called for additional environmental studies.
TCAPS spent about $20,000 a year to maintain the vacant school property, Soma said. He's glad to finally have ink on the contract with GTRAC.
"It's exciting for us. It takes away some of our carrying costs on a property we weren't using, and it becomes an asset to the community," Soma said.
GTRAC representatives could not be reached for comment, but Soma said he believes they'll use the existing building for a community arts and recreation center.
Norris heirs also will receive a cut from the property's sale.
The Norris family gave 10 percent of the land on which the school sits to TCAPS in 1877, and the family will receive 10 percent of the sale price, Soma said.