Officials are staying quiet about an executive session that Dublin City Council and school board members held April 23 to discuss property acquisition for public use.

Officials are staying quiet about an executive session that Dublin City Council and school board members held April 23 to discuss property acquisition for public use.

At a council meeting April 21, Mayor Marilee Chinnici-Zuercher reminded fellow council members of the executive session, which she said would be held to discuss "school locations."

In the past, council has discussed buying Dublin City Schools' land where Indian Run Elementary and Sells Middle School sit on West Bridge Street in the city's historic district.

School district officials said the discussions centered on general land use plans and they would not discuss specifics until the city went on the record.

City officials declined to reveal those details.

"As you know the purpose of executive session by Ohio law is so elected bodies can discuss land acquisition issues, legal issues and personnel issues without announcing them publicly," Chinnici-Zuercher told the Villager.

Superintendent David Axner, district treasurer Steve Osborne, board members Chris Valentine and Lynn May, district planners Joe Reidel and Ralph Feasel and district business manager Jeff Eble attended the meeting, district spokesman Doug Baker said.

Chinnici-Zuercher, Vice Mayor Cathy Boring and council members Rick Gerber, Mike Keenan and John Reiner also attended, said Anne Clark, clerk of council.

The city's 2007 community plan contains a proposed plan for Historic Dublin that does not include the current school buildings. The land currently occupied by the schools is identified in the plan as an area for future mixed-use development. The district's 1919 building is depicted on the plan with public green space.

The draft of the Historic Dublin Revitalization Plan also identifies the school land as a "future development zone."

In its 2008-09 goals, which have yet to be approved, council included Historic Dublin in hopes of enhancing development in that area through partnerships with the schools, library, community organizations and individuals.

"They know if they want to make a significant difference in Historic Dublin they need land mass and the best land to develop would be the school site," director of community relations Sandra Puskarcik told the Villager in March.

In 2004, diagrams of the city's proposal for that 33 acres of district land "showed the use of those properties by the city" if the city owned the land, former school board member Julie Best told the Villager.

At that point the city was talking about the "long-range potential" for the land and the city considered it as "prime property for their needs," said Best, who served on the school board from 1997-2005.

Mention of acquiring the land from the district was discussed publically at an Aug. 20 council meeting, when Camion Associates presented a market assessment of the historic district. The assessment is intended to help the city develop and implement strategies for the economic aspects of the draft of the Historic Dublin Revitalization Plan.

Rob Camion, principal of Camion Associates, recommended that the city acquire the land to enhance the viability of the historic district.

"Many of these things you've said we're already doing or have already done," Keenan said at the meeting. "Until we get the land we need, most of this is a moot point."

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