By Jessica Mathews /

Plans will be put together to hopefully address the old Lindbom school property in the City of Brighton.

The Brighton City Council met virtually Thursday night and held a closed session. Afterward, it revealed that one of the items of discussion was the old Lindbom school building, which is abandoned and the site has known environmental issues. Numerous projects have been proposed on the site but none ever came to fruition.

Council ultimately approved a motion requesting the City’s Brownfield Authority Board convene a meeting to explore any Brownfield opportunities with the site. A Brownfield Authority helps facilitate the re-use and redevelopment of environmentally contaminated, blighted and functionally obsolete properties. Plans are created for site redevelopment through the use of tax increment financing and other mechanisms. Councilman Jim Bohn felt the topic merited council discussion after the closed session as to whether they should utilize a Brownfield Authority to look at creating a plan for Lindbom. Bohn said there are known health and safety issues at the site, with an emphasis on safety – adding the building has basically been abandoned for several years and is an attractive nuisance.

Councilman Kristoffer Tobbe was opposed to the motion, saying he was not in favor of loaning the current property owner any funds from city coffers because there’s too much history with the developer and current owner. Tobbe said until he sees a legitimate move by another developer on the site, he couldn’t go along with it.

It was noted during the meeting that the cost of preparing a Brownfield plan - along with all consulting, engineering and legal costs related to it - are eligible for reimbursement through the Brownfield Authority. Plans are typically prepared by an environmental consultant. How much work would be involved is unknown but some environmental information is already available.

City Manager Nate Geinzer commented that based on research, a consultant is probably worth the investment to be as efficient with time as possible. He said they heard some concerns from Council and those will be taken into consideration during the process.

The plan would first need to be developed and approved by the Authority and then City Council after a public hearing prior to any work being done. Depending on how any plan is structured, the tax increment reimbursements would be a separate part of the process. There are currently three financing options with different merits to be weighed and Geinzer said the board would be starting with the least risky for evaluation.

The makeup of the Brownfield Authority Board just happens to be the same board members as the Downtown Development Authority but is a separate entity. Mayor Shawn Pipoly and Councilman Jon Emaus also sit on the Brownfield Authority.