The Old High School

September 20, 2012
By

More and more we hear elected public officials castigating or questioning the mayor about what he has failed to do with the former senior high school on Broadway. The desire of the mayor’s colleagues in government to question his judgment and abilities based on getting the former high school property redeveloped are a bit specious.

The mayor does a good job running the city but he is not superman nor is he God.

The former high school structure is an albatross, a cross to bear, if you will.

It is large, hulking, out of date, hopelessly out of sync with the modern era in nearly every way.

The neighborhood doesn’t want to see anything meaningful happen there as there is no parking – and this is a reality.

No matter what the mayor might propose for the place it lacks parking – and if the mayor proposed for the entire reuse of the structure and the sale of the structure to investors and developers that would dump millions into it, the neighborhood would respond by saying: “We don’t want it.”

The fact of the matter is this: no one presently wants to buy the structure. The mayor’s colleagues may believe the structure is valuable – but for what exactly can it be used or does it need to be demolished and the city handed another open space?

This is really what needs to be done.

The present use of the building by a variety of charitable organizations helps to defray the cost of heating the structure and of maintaining it. Frankly, this type of use isn’t to be taken lightly. The building serves a good purpose right now but this type of use is inconsistent with the future.

The structure needs to have millions poured into it. This isn’t going to happen if the city continues to own it and to be its landlord.

On the other hand, if the structure can be sold to a developer, the neighborhood will have to come to terms with a structure that will be populated with people and automobiles one way or another – and with a long construction process that will require everyone living nearby to put up with it.

The former high school property is not an asset. It is a problem.

The sooner the city rids itself of the problem, the sooner the mayor’s elected colleagues will get off their high horses claiming he has failed the residents here because the structure is empty.

Ripping it down and making a park is likely the best and highest use of the land.

The building is just about worthless and frankly, it probably couldn’t be given away and even if it were given away, the developer couldn’t get the variances he or she would need to bring the place back to life.