The board of directors for KIPP New Orleans Schools voted during a board retreat last week to purchase the empty lot at 1411 S. Robertson St. for $1,345. The lot is across from the KIPP Central City Primary School.
According to Jonathan Bertsch, director of advocacy for KIPP New Orleans Schools, the official purchase price for the lot is $10,000. However, through the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority – the anti-blight organization operating through the City of New Orleans – the remaining balance will be waived if the school keeps the property free from blight for five years, a standard condition for the sale of previously blighted NORA properties.
Board members said the lot had been used by KIPP Central City Academy to house trailers from 2010-2012 while the school’s Woodson building on Thalia Street was being renovated.
The school no longer needs trailers on the property, but will use the lot for green space where students can play, said Rhonda Alusie, chief executive officer for KIPP New Orleans Schools, who attended the retreat held Friday and Saturday at the Iberia Bank conference room on St. Charles Avenue.
Bertsch said that both the KIPP organization and NORA approached each other regarding the sale.
The board voted to approve the purchase in June; however, the wording of the new board resolution names Aluise as the authorized signer, which was a requirement for closing, and the board needed to re-vote, Bertsch said.
He added that the organization will use its current maintenance staff for upkeep on the lot.