Officials from St. Edward High School are hoping to tear down a house that the school owns at 1350 Nicholson Avenue to make way for a community garden.
But the proposal was met with some opposition at the city's architectural board of review meeting on Thursday.
Don Murphy, the school’s business manager, presented plans to the board.
“A garden would allow students to continue to work on service projects and the garden would provide fresh vegetables to our community meal program,” he said. “We are looking for ways to expand on the education opportunities for students and this is a way to do this.”
Nearly 400 students participate in the gardening program, he added.
The school would demolish the house, add fencing and landscaping and provide a water source to the garden.
The first time St. Edward officials proposed the plan to demolish the home last year, there were no plans for the future use of the property — and the board rejected the idea.
“We weren’t in favor of it, because we aren’t in favor of having a missing tooth in the neighborhood,” said board chairman Michael Molinski. ”We asked you to come back with a plan, and it looks like you’ve got that.”
At least one neighbor was skeptical — and that’s putting it mildly.
Richard Corrigan, who lives next door to the home at 1356 Nicholson Avenue, said the school doesn’t currently maintain the property, so he has doubts about the proposal.
He had strong words for the plans.
“That house has been devaluing my property since they bought it 14 years ago,” Corrigan. “It’s been sitting there empty. If it was me, I would have been fined and put in jail for what they’ve done there. This community garden is a fraud.”
The board agreed that it needed more information before making a decision.
“I’d like to see more due diligence, (to find out) what condition this (house) is in,” said board member Michael Fleenor. “This garden seems out of place. If it were next to your property, it would be nice.”
“We take seriously, the demolition of any house in the city.”
The issue is set to come before the board again at next month’s meeting.