A charter school that targets talented and gifted children seeks to move from Sixth Street in East Toledo to a location on Front Street near the proposed Marina District.
L. Hollingworth School for Talented & Gifted received a recommendation for approval last week from the Toledo City Plan Commission for a zoning change and special-use permit at 801 and 1335 Front.
The charter school leases the former Sacred Heart Elementary, on Sixth near East Broadway, to teach about 205 kindergarten through eighth graders.
Terrance Franklin, executive director, said the location on Front will give the school room to expand and improve its academic programs but at the same time stay close to the children it serves.
“We need to be able to grow and stretch out and offer new opportunities for students. We think this new space will give us that. We want to provide East Toledo with some hope that development is still occurring. We want to be part of that positive mood,” Mr. Franklin said.
The charter school, which is sponsored by the Buckeye Hope Community Foundation, opened in 2009 with 150 students.
The Columbus-based foundation sponsors other charter schools in the Toledo, including Achieve, 301 Collingwood Blvd.; Eagle Academy, 2014 Consaul St.; Horizon Science Academy, 2600 W. Sylvania Ave. and 425 Jefferson Ave.; Imagine Hill Avenue, 6145 Hill Ave., and Knight Academy, 110 Arco Dr.
The property on Front, which consists of two buildings on 1.8 acres, is zoned for light-industrial use, and a change to regional commercial would allow the charter school to operate. A special-use permit is also needed.
With the plan commission’s 4-0 approval of the application, the charter school’s application will go to Toledo City Council for a public hearing and vote March 20.
The school will buy the buildings and land, contingent on the plans receiving approval, with construction and extensive renovations beginning immediately to have the property ready for classes in August, Mr. Franklin said.
“We are still in the process of due diligence. We are excited about this opportunity and thankful to the plan commission. We see this as an opportunity to improve the neighborhood aesthetics on Front Street,” he said.
The proposal fits in well with efforts to develop the vacant Marina District land and accommodate any residential use that may occur, Planning Commission Director Thomas Lemon said. The planning commission asked the school to put sidewalks into the plans that could draw people to the district area.
“There will be a need for a school, and here is one within walking distance,” he said.
Mr. Franklin said the charter school is looking to develop partnerships with neighborhood groups and wants to host a community center on the property that would serve residents.
“We want to stimulate growth in the Marina District. We are hoping that our school will jump-start development. We want to take the first step forward,” he said.
Contact Mark Reiter at: email@example.com or 419-724-6199.