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Chatfield high school site to become industrial park

By Jeff Hansel

jhansel@postbulletin.com

CHATFIELD -- Land that had been destined to become the site for a new high school in Chatfield will not go to waste, even though the most-recent school proposal failed in a referendum.

Steve Thornton, executive director of the Rochester Area Foundation, said 58 acres of land valued at approximately $300,000 had been designated for construction of a new high school by the donor.

But when the school proposal failed, the donor changed his mind and economic development became the focus.

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"He's now recommending that we gift the land to the city of Chatfield," Thornton said. That will mean economic development for the community of about 2,400 people.

"Bob Schoenfelder has directed the land actually owned by Rochester Area Foundation to be given to the city of Chatfield for an industrial park," said Mark Thein, Chatfield's planning and economic-development coordinator.

Thornton said the foundation's board must still approve the transfer. But, he said, "I fully anticipate that the board will accept the donor's recommendation." If Schoenfelder's recommendation is accepted, "then the property would be transferred to the city of Chatfield," Thornton said. The property is along County Road 10 on the hill on the northwest side of town.

Thein said the city will market the property to light-industrial businesses specializing in fields such as electronics, food processing or biosciences. The decision about which industries to target is still in the planning phase, Thein said.

"Biotech, biosciences would be a big one," he said.

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