EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Evansville City Council has opened the door for a former school to be re-purposed.
During their meeting Monday, the council approved rezoning the former Henry Reis school building.
The building, located on Stringtown Road and standing for over a century, has been vacant for years.
City council members approved plans to repurpose the building to add value to the neighborhood.
“We’ve done that a lot downtown,” said area plan commissioner board president Stacey Stevens. “That’s kind of a cool area right there because some of those buildings were built in the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s even 70s.”
Developer Sammy King agreed to buy the building from a nonprofit known for providing autism services.
King said he wants to fill the space with growing small businesses.
“The rent still stays the same and businesses are struggling, so something like this is an opportunity for a business who wants a second chance,” King said.
The building has gained some rich history since Evansville’s school system built it in 1914.
King said in effort to hold onto that, they’re keeping the building the same.
“We have no plan as far as changing anything in it, if anything we’re just going to make it look a lot nicer,” said King. “That’s one of the reasons we purchased it, to maintain it and keep it the way it is.”
By potentially adding businesses like a supermarket, flower shop, or an antique store, planners believe this will preserve the old, while welcoming the new.
“We want to preserve those cool old buildings, and if it’s outlived its original purpose, we want to try and find another purpose for it,” Stevens said.