Board gives city of Margate title to Union Avenue School

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Margate School District Superintendent Theresa DeFranco and Mayor Mike Becker exchange $1 for the title to Union Avenue School Thursday, Feb. 28. Margate School District Superintendent Theresa DeFranco and Mayor Mike Becker exchange $1 for the title to Union Avenue School Thursday, Feb. 28.

MARGATE – Superintendent Theresa DeFranco signed the deed to the UnionAvenueSchool over to the city of Margate Thursday afternoon in the building that has served as City Hall since Hurricane Sandy struck the coast.

Mayor Mike Becker accepted the title to the former elementary school Feb. 28 for the token sum of $1.

He said the school was erroneously put on the Green Acres Recreation and Open Space Inventory and it took years for City Solicitor Scott Abbott to prove it and have it removed.

The school has been vacant since it closed its doors to students at the end of the 2009-2010 school year.

Becker commended the board for keeping the building in move-in condition.

"This was a great process of people working together to get things done," said Becker. "The Board of Education kept this building so all we had to do was put the key in the door and move in when we needed."

Abbott said the transfer “makes a lot of sense.”

"I think it's all worked out well for the city of Margate and the Board of Education,” he said.

DeFranco said she had a lot of happy memories watching students perform on the stage in the multipurpose room, which has served as a meeting room for the city commissioners since Hurricane Sandy flooded City Hall on Washington and Ventnor avenues.

"We see this as a win-win. It's a win for us because we can concentrate on our mission to provide a good quality education for the students of Margate," DeFranco said. "It's a win for the city to have a large building to house staff, and there are multiple opportunities here, including the second floor."

In November, the city became a tenant and moved its offices and staff into the 9001 Winchester Ave. property. The city and the school also recently struck an agreement to have a black seal boiler operator from the school district maintain the system.

Prior to the title change, Becker reached in his pocket and pulled out a dollar bill to symbolize the exchange for the title.

"The city gave it to us for educational purposes,” DeFranco said. “It was the right thing to do to give it back."

Board of Education President J.B. Sless, who was out of town, put his signature on the documents prior to Thursday's signing. The agreements include the bill of sale including the solar system array on the school's roof and the deed to the property.

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