On June 3rd, Save Historic St. Andrew’s initiated a legal action under the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (“MERA”) seeking to prevent the demolition of historic St. Andrew’s church in the Como Park neighborhood.
The church, designed by famed St. Paul municipal architect Charles Hausler, is one of the city’s best Period Revival structures and currently houses the gymnasium and cafeteria of the Twin Cities German Immersion School (TCGIS). The building is owned by a separate development company.
The suit, filed in Ramsey County District Court, seeks a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction to ensure that the 92-year-old structure will not be torn down as part of a $5.1 million building project that the school has been exploring for more than a year.
MERA protects cultural and historic resources from destruction, and requires owners and developers to demonstrate that there are no feasible alternatives to demolition.
“We absolutely believe there are alternatives other than demolition here, and we need more time to explore them,” said Teri Alberico, president of the group and next-door neighbor to the school.
Although the St. Paul City Council laid-over the vote on historic designation of St. Andrew’s until its upcoming June 5th meeting, Save Historic St. Andrew’s felt the need to stop the clock on demolition in the event the Council does not accept the recommendations of its own Heritage Preservation Commission and the State Historic Preservation Office to designate St. Andrew’s as a St. Paul Heritage Preservation site.
“We truly hope all parties will take advantage of this ‘time out’ and come together in good faith to consider all the options,” Alberico added.
“We owe this to our future. Once this structure is gone, it’s gone forever.”