A letter writer in the August 2019 issue makes a lot of claims about supporters of the Twin Cities German Immersion School’s efforts to construct an addition to their campus. He asks, “How invested can [supporters] be if they don’t live here?” He implies that “neighbors” and “the community” are in lockstep against the school’s expansion plans that would require the demolition of the building that, prior to 2011, housed St Andrew’s Catholic Church before the Archdiocese shuttered and sold it.
While it is certainly true that there is a group of vociferous supporters of the former church building, there are also many neighbors who are squarely in favor of the school’s expansion, and in fact voted in favor of all three variances that the expansion would require at the December 5 District 10 Land Use Committee meeting.
The writer seems to be of the opinion that those who do not live in the neighborhood should not have a say in the issue. However, numerous members of the anti-demolition group “Friends of Warrendale and Save Historic St. Andrew’s LLC” (FOWASHSA) reside well outside the neighborhood, outside District 10, even outside St. Paul, including their main spokesperson. Should their opinions also not matter?
The writer opines that the City Council, in their vote against historic designation of this property, “failed to stand up for” the community. I would reply that the City Council did indeed listen to the community: The only time there has been any official vote limited to those of us who live in District 10, the aforementioned three variances required for the school’s expansion were all approved by a simple majority vote of the community who cared enough about the issue to show up and make their voices heard.
The community, the neighborhood, is not of one mind on this. This community is torn. Neighbors who are normally great friends are at odds over this issue. Some are not speaking to each other. There has been boorish behavior on both sides. No matter what happens to the building, there will be anger and sadness remaining.
I only hope that the neighborhood can come together again.