Planning underway to redevelop former Lemoyne Middle School

LEMOYNE, Pa. (WHTM) – The old Lemoyne Middle School has been vacant for four years now. It could be torn down and redeveloped, but some in the community aren’t sold on the idea yet.

The 90,000 square-foot school was built in the 1920’s. Some people with the Concerned Citizens of Lemoyne Middle School Project would like to see the building refurbished.

“Repurposing the building and putting something in there like luxury apartments or using it for community purposes would be wonderful, putting some kind of park area in or an educational facility,” said Laurie Zimmerman, founder of the group.

Those with the Real Estate Collaborative, a part of the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation, signed an agreement with the West Shore School District to buy it for $450,000 by the end of the 2017 fiscal year. They just finished a market feasibility study.

They’re considering tearing it down and redeveloping it into commercial and residential properties such as a strip mall and a high-end restaurant on the Market Street side and townhouses or apartments on the residential side.

Neighbors fear it could create traffic and change their quiet neighborhood. They don’t want a high-rise building on the residential side and would prefer no more than two-story buildings. They think large buildings would make the neighborhood less esthetic.

The collaborative believes the project could create new jobs and put the three-acre property back on the tax rolls. They say empty industrial or public buildings can create big problems for communities.

“For a lot of neighborhoods and communities, that creates negative property values for the neighborhoods surrounding those buildings. It also leads to future blight and crime and other activities,” said Jonathan Bowser, CEO of the Real Estate Collaborative.

The collaborative already held a community meeting. The next community meeting will be on June 28 at 7 p.m. They haven’t secured a location yet but hope to have it at Washington Heights Elementary School.

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