Millikin should not be sold. It is valuable public property and should remain public property.

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The CH-UH School Board recently released a statement about Millikin School. Their complete statement is at the end of this blog.

The short version is that Mosdos says it does not want to follow through with their plan to lease the building for 30 years for $1 a year and to put $1.5 million in permanent improvements in the first 3 years of the lease.

Instead they now want to buy the building and are offering 1/3 of the appraised value.

The property’s value is not the building, it is the land.

The land is owned by the public and should remain in public hands.

Value and price are not the same thing. (Your car’s value to you is probably greater than the price you could get someone to pay you for it.)

This land is valuable and should not be sold.

Perhaps the building should be demolished and the land put into a conservation easement.  This would increase the value of the property of the members of Mosdos as well as all their neighbors, and the entire community.

Here are some reasons why Millikin should not be sold and instead put into a conservation easement.

  • The land can easily be connected to Severance Center.
  • This land contains a wetland and provides a green buffer between the largest assemblage of concrete and asphalt in the city and the residential neighborhoods nearby.
  • This land helps manage stormwater runoff and we are all paying dearly to address the problem of stormwater runoff.
  • This property contains the remains of the Severance Stables, the last building connected to the history of the Severance Estate.
  • If we want to be a sustainable city we have to develop greentrails so people can walk and bike and use strollers and wheelchairs to get from place to place. The Millikin property is a crucial puzzle piece in the creation of a regional greentrail.

I hope that the CH-UH School Board, if unable to lease the building to Mosdos, will consider the above plan. I know that I and others would be willing to work on this solution with the school board. Our community would be better off, now, and for generations to come.


School board statement:

“It’s unfortunate that it is taking so long to solidify our agreement with Mosdos Ohr Hatorah.

After many years of sometimes difficult negotiations about this property, we thought that we had found a price with which Mosdos could agree: $1 per year for 30 years.  Both sides agreed to these preliminary terms and in August, 2012, the Board and Mosdos signed a non-binding lease proposal for Mosdos to lease the building. The proposed lease would have required Mosdos to invest $1.5 million in permanent improvements to the building during the first three years of the lease. After thirty years, Mosdos would have two consecutive options to renew for 10 year terms.

This would meet the needs of Mosdos, keep the property in educational use, and ensure a continued community-benefit for use of the facility. 

In October 2012, the Board’s legal counsel requested that Mosdos confirm that the cost estimates and work scopes that Mosdos received for its planned improvements to the building were acceptable to Mosdos and that Mosdos was willing to proceed with the lease and the improvements. 

After not hearing from Mosdos for several months, the Board’s counsel asked Mosdos for an update. In March of 2013, we were notified by Mosdos that a construction cost estimate by its contractor was $3.4 million, apparently greater than Mosdos had anticipated but consistent with estimates that the District had received for renovation of the building.

We’ve now been informed that Mosdos would like to change the terms originally agreed upon.

The new offer from Mosdos is to buy the property for $215,000. The appraisals requested in 2012 by the school district and Mosdos were $770,000 and $600,000, respectively. The Board has agreed to negotiate with Mosdos to sell the property with the expectation of receiving fair market value and has set a timeline of October 15. “

Fran Mentch is running for Cleveland Heights City Council.



  1. Bill Jones says

    The board should not be selling the property to Mosdos or anyone else for such a substantial discount on its appraised value. I believe most stakeholders would agree.
    As for Ms. Mentch’s recommendations, I hope that either she or the board puts numbers to these recommendations so residents know how much her plans would cost us and what dollars and cents value we get in return. We should not be making decisions based on someone’s particular values no matter how laudable they might be to many.

  2. Brian Wagner says

    “Value and price are not the same thing.”

    That is one of the central tenets of Communism. Thank you, comrade Mentch. In a free market economy, the value is determined by the price on which both parties agree to make the transaction.

    “Your car’s value to you is probably greater than the price you could get someone to pay you for it.”

    But the value to me is EXACTLY the amount for which I’m willing to sell it. Somewhere between the amount I want, and the amount someone else is willing to pay, is the compromise which represents its true market value. That’s how the free market works, but then, I wouldn’t expect someone who opens by paraphrasing Marx to get that.

    The current recession had its genesis in the misbelief that appraisals represent true market value of real estate.

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