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Waterloo City Council Approves Housing Development at Former School

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WATERLOO, Iowa - City leaders have cleared the way for a housing development at the former Lafayette School property.

City Council members voted 6-1 Monday to approve a site plan for Black Hawk Contracting and Development, a firm headed by former Mayor John Rooff, to build 14 new single-family homes on the property at Lafayette and Indiana streets.

Councilman Ron Welper, who had pushed for several years to lure a commercial strip mall to the site, cast the lone vote against the project.

"My intent is not to get you to change your vote," Welper told his colleagues. "It certainly is nothing against Mr. Rooff.

"We need an economic boost in that area," he said. "I don't see 14 homes doing that."

The city had put the site plan on hold for 60 days starting in November, giving city staff a chance to market it to commercial developers. There were no takers.

The city has a pending demolition contract in place to remove the former elementary school, which had fallen into disrepair and was deemed unsafe. Rooff hopes to begin putting in public infrastructure to serve the development this spring.

He said it could take up to two years to complete the project if the homes sell as planned.

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