Posted: May 27, 2012 11:03 PM
Updated: May 28, 2012 9:59 AM
TUCSON - Wrightstown Elementary School will be demolished to make room for rental houses.
The school has been empty because there are not many young kids in that part of town.
Many of the school's neighbors are worried about what will happen to the area.
"They're going to be packed in here," Moria Aicher said. "It just doesn't feel right, doesn't look right."
The developer, Roger Karber, is aware of the criticism.
"I worry that people have a general sense of fear whenever we arrive on their doorstep," Karber said. "It's only fair that we spend time and discuss."
Karber's company wants the Wrightstown property to be similar to another development called Aerie near Tanque Verde and Wrightstown Roads.
The units are free-standing, single-story houses with back yards.
Tucson Unified School District sold the property for $1.6 million.
TUSD governing board member Michael Hicks voted against the sale.
"My goal is to put charter schools out of business," Hicks said. "For me, it was the idea that we're selling an asset that we'll never get back again."
Hicks was hoping to lease the school. He said there were groups interested.
The land still has to go through a rezoning process.
Tucson City Councilman Paul Cunningham, whose ward the property is in, says he is sure they will find a compromise the builder and homeowners can agree with.
The new community will probably be gated unless residents don't want it to be, according to Karber.
The development will generate less traffic than the school, according to Karber.
There is a demand for new homes close to the city, according to Karber.
"People today seem to want to come back in to cut their transportation costs," Karber said. "New housing like this saves on energy costs."
The historic 1914 schoolhouse will not be demolished.
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