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Going to school on going 'green'

The City of Morris will receive a grant from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to aid in the redevelopment of the elementary school property.

The grant, awarded on Friday, was written by the School Property Redevelopment Committee, formerly known as the Elementary Re-use Committee.

It will fund the Morris Eco-Friendly Affordable Housing Demonstration Project, which will explore plans for affordable "green" building on the 17.7-acre elementary school site.

The city purchased the school property from the Morris Area School District for $1 in 2005. Efforts to find investors and developers willing to attempt to reuse the school buildings have not been successful, but the property presents the city with a prime development opportunity.

The grant is $23,750. The city would contribute about $10,100 in in-kind services. The grant period is May 2008 through June 2010.

"I think this is a great step moving forward," said Morris City Manager Blaine Hill.

The allocation is part of the Environmental Assistance grant round, and was one of 28 final applications considered.

Laura Millberg has been assigned as the city's MPCA Project Manager. The signed grant agreements must be received at the MPCA by April 25, and the allocation will be finalized May 5.