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jencoleslaw

Grove Street School Illegal Demolition

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PRESS RELEASE

February 5, 2007

WBNA AND NEIGHBORS RALLY TO SAVE HISTORIC NEIGHBORHOOD SCHOOL FROM DEMOLITON

WBNA board members and staff at Grove Street School on Saturday to halt demolition

Providence--Last Monday, 2/29, the West Broadway Neighborhood Association (WBNA) responded to complaints from neighbors of the Grove Street School that workers onsite claimed that the building was going to be demolished. The WBNA sent out an email alert to all of its members and citywide contacts urging them to contact the Mayor. In response to numerous phone calls and emails the City issued a Stop Work Order for the building and attached it to the front door of the school.

Kari Lang, Executive Director of the WBNA, said that she was beginning a tour of the neighborhood with board members as part of the annual board retreat on Saturday, February 3 rd. "The tour came to an abrupt stop when a neighbor drove up and announced that the Grove Street School was being demolished." Board members immediately called the police, city officials and local news stations. "Fortunately, we were nearby the school on our tour and were able to get there in advance of police. We were stunned and dismayed to see the bulldozer was striking the building when we arrived. We told the demolition contractor to stop and after several minutes they did so," explained Lang. Police, city officials and the Mayor arrived on the scene and confirmed that the contractor was doing work without a demolition permit and against the City's Stop Work Order. WBNA board members, staff, and other concerned neighbors remained at the school until the demolition crew left and 24-hour police detail set up post to ensure that no further destruction of the building took place.

"The community came together in response to the threat to a treasured historic school building. Their action and the City's prompt response we hope will change this devastating blow into a preservation victory," said WBNA board member and neighbor of the Grove Street School, Anne Tait.

On Monday, February 05, the Rhode Island Superior Court issued an Order Granting The City's Emergency Motion For Injunctive Relief which states that no further demolition or alteration may be made to the Grove Street School. Additionally, the WBNA has been informed by city officials that they are looking at various actions to protect the building, including a Providence Redevelopment Agency meeting on Thursday, February 8th at 4pm at the Department of Planning and Development, 400 Westminster Street, 4th floor to hear plans for the acquisition of the Grove Street School from the current property owners.

The WBNA organizes neighbors and businesses on the West Side of Providence to preserve and protect our diverse, historic, urban community as a safe, vibrant, and sustainable place to live, work, and play.

###

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As I was reading the WBNA press release, it dawned on me that the two most infamous demolitions in recent years (Gulf Station and Grove St. School) were committed by property owners who work or have worked for the City - a former mayor and now, an attorney with the city.

In the case of Grove Street, why would an attorney with the City knowingly commit an illegal act in broad daylight for all to witness? Ignorance of the process? If he didn't know about the demo permit process before, he was certainly made aware of it last week. Jen offers the explanation of the old vs. new Providence. That could certainly be it but why would a City employee be willing to risk the wrath of their boss?

Not to sound all Oliver Stone, but I'm wondering if there was tacit approval given for the demo by someone within the administration. AnnieFanny voiced some skepticism about how Tarro ended up with this building in the first place. Frankly, I don't think it would be a stretch: Mike's a nice guy, and we need to help him out with this white elephant that's been sitting around for years on land whose highest and best use is a surface parking lot.

Stranger things have happened . . . (I always thought it would burn down like America Street School - shows what I know).

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As I was reading the WBNA press release, it dawned on me that the two most infamous demolitions in recent years (Gulf Station and Grove St. School) were committed by property owners who work or have worked for the City - a former mayor and now, an attorney with the city.

In the case of Grove Street, why would an attorney with the City knowingly commit an illegal act in broad daylight for all to witness? Ignorance of the process? If he didn't know about the demo permit process before, he was certainly made aware of it last week. Jen offers the explanation of the old vs. new Providence. That could certainly be it but why would a City employee be willing to risk the wrath of their boss?

Not to sound all Oliver Stone, but I'm wondering if there was tacit approval given for the demo by someone within the administration. AnnieFanny voiced some skepticism about how Tarro ended up with this building in the first place. Frankly, I don't think it would be a stretch: Mike's a nice guy, and we need to help him out with this white elephant that's been sitting around for years on land whose highest and best use is a surface parking lot.

Stranger things have happened . . . (I always thought it would burn down like America Street School - shows what I know).

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As I was reading the WBNA press release, it dawned on me that the two most infamous demolitions in recent years (Gulf Station and Grove St. School) were committed by property owners who work or have worked for the City - a former mayor and now, an attorney with the city.

In the case of Grove Street, why would an attorney with the City knowingly commit an illegal act in broad daylight for all to witness? Ignorance of the process? If he didn't know about the demo permit process before, he was certainly made aware of it last week. Jen offers the explanation of the old vs. new Providence. That could certainly be it but why would a City employee be willing to risk the wrath of their boss?

Not to sound all Oliver Stone, but I'm wondering if there was tacit approval given for the demo by someone within the administration. AnnieFanny voiced some skepticism about how Tarro ended up with this building in the first place. Frankly, I don't think it would be a stretch: Mike's a nice guy, and we need to help him out with this white elephant that's been sitting around for years on land whose highest and best use is a surface parking lot.

Stranger things have happened . . . (I always thought it would burn down like America Street School - shows what I know).

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Any updates re: whether or not the partial demo had any effect on air quality in the immediate area?

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Good article but I think the following statement in the Journal was reported in error:

"Coughlin [attorney for one of the Tarros] said the Tarros plan to send an engineer to the property to determine whether it is structurally sound and to figure out whether it was sound before the demolition work was done."

I think it should read as follows:

"Coughlin said the Tarros plan to send an engineer to the property to determine whether it is structurally sound and to figure out why the hell it's still standing." :P

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Surely if the structural engineer determines that the building was sound the Tarros will make this information known. :rolleyes: These people have no understanding of the word integrity.

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now having read the article a few times, i can now predict what will happen. The owners will claim they knew nothing of any stop work order (despite it being nailed to the building), blaming the one family member who is out of town, despite the fact that one of the owners works for the city in the law department, and the other had several conversations with the Councilman from the ward that very week.

They will claim, i suspect, that they needed to take the building down for safety reasons, trotting out some "report" no one knows about, saying it was unsound, and assumed that filing a demo permit with the city on FRIDAY (i wonder what time they filed it?) meant they could take it down on Saturday. I can see their lawyer now, with crocodile tears, making the case for everyone just looking out for all the crack heads and bums living in the school (btw, i used to be an abutter, and now i am a block away, drug dealers don't take the time to break into the school to deal drugs--they do it right on the street in plain sight). I wonder if they swept the building for the homeless when they started taking the building down?

the building will be condemned somehow, bil-ray will show up with a big grin and a bigger piece of equipment, and the rest of the building will come down. Then, a giant parking lot will be built, without a permit, and they will have what they want, as per usual.

i guess no renaissance is true without an insidious plague, huh?

for the last almost 10 years i have been assuring the neighbors, and others over here that there's no way that building would come down--that the city wouldn't allow it, that they owners weren't that stupid, that there were layers of legal protection on it, and now, frankly, i realise i sold the neighborhood a promise that was impossible to keep in this city. My lease on my apartment is up in June. I always said I'd leave Providence if that building came down, so maybe that's a promise I can keep.

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for the last almost 10 years i have been assuring the neighbors, and others over here that there's no way that building would come down--that the city wouldn't allow it, that they owners weren't that stupid, that there were layers of legal protection on it, and now, frankly, i realise i sold the neighborhood a promise that was impossible to keep in this city. My lease on my apartment is up in June. I always said I'd leave Providence if that building came down, so maybe that's a promise I can keep.

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I don't know Jen...I think you can stay in Providence. This was so flagrantly illegal, and there are enough people visibly outraged, that I think the PRA will have take the building by eminent domain.

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I'm not familiar with the history on this one... What's the rallying cry for saving this building -- "it's not as hideous as the train station," or what? If it's full of asbestos, what can you do with it, other than gut it at huge expense to the taxpayer?

Urb

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I'm not familiar with the history on this one... What's the rallying cry for saving this building -- "it's not as hideous as the train station," or what? If it's full of asbestos, what can you do with it, other than gut it at huge expense to the taxpayer?

Urb

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i'm now taking applications from communities that might wish to have me as a resident.

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I was going to comment on this but my opinion would end up getting flagged anyway. Let's just say that this building is/was unsalvageable for any legitimate purpose of restoration. It has suffered the elements and has been vacant for over 4 decades. People will have you believe it was recently vacated and ripe with development offers. While I think the intent of creating more parking is ridiculous and unsuitable for the neighborhood, one must realize that as long as there is this ridiculous parking ban, people will continue to pave their yards and bulldoze reparable historic buildings in a quest to avoid $15 tickets.

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