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Dover to poll residents on school purchase

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The former Dover School Wednesday June 15, 2016.

DOVER — If you live in Dover, expect a survey showing up at your front door or in your mailbox sometime soon.

The Dover City Council finalized its survey for residents Thursday night, asking them whether the city should enter into negotiations with the Dover-Eyota School District for the old Dover School building. A second question asks the residents to recommend potential uses for the building.

The deadline for the survey is Aug. 1, and the council expects to have an online version on the Dover website as well, said Mayor Roger Ihrke. Several volunteers plan to hand-deliver the survey form to each home in the city.

"Estimates to remove the building are approximately $200,000, which at this time is the school's responsibility," Ihrke said, reading from the questionnaire draft. If the city acquires the building, it would need about $20,000 of immediate repairs, and ongoing utilities would run between $12,000 and $15,000 a year.

Several council members asked the mayor what the school district might ask to the city to pay for the building. Ihrke indicated that the district and city had not begun those talks even informally.


"I got the feeling that if we're willing to take it, they're willing to get rid of it," he said. "If the city does not purchase the building, the district intends to list it for sale."

In the meantime, a truck was at the school this week removing equipment from the last tenants, meaning the school will soon be ready for either demolition or a new owner, Ihrke said.

In other business, Council Member Jaime Putzier brought a report on ridership of the Rolling Hills Transport bus system to the council. In past months, the city has had trouble getting accurate ridership numbers, but the new statistics show 22 one-way rides for Dover residents in April and 23 Dover riders in May.

"That doesn't mean 22 different people," Putzier cautioned. "People have to go round trip." In other words, the 22 April rides might represent just 11 round-trip rides for the month.

Ihrke said the program costs the city more than $7,000 per year in fees and $500 per quarter.

Most of the rides, the report noted, occur between 7-8 a.m., with the ride destination being split evenly over the two-month period between St. Charles and Rochester.

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