NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Officials in Garden City are expected to unveil big plans Tuesday night, that could change how a historic Long Island building looks and runs.
St. Paul’s School in Garden City has large, gaping holes in the roof and on the ground.
Barricades surround the nearly 140-year-old vacant building and there’s no question it needs major work, but this community is torn over what should be done.
“If they can keep the outside and just do the inside, I would be all for that,” said Garden City resident Lisa Fedor.
“Keeping the facade doesn’t keep the integrity and the history of the building,” said Garden City resident Megan Colon.
The village bought the four-story building and the 48 acre plot, back in 1992, right after the school was shut down. While athletic programs use the fields for games, the recreation department and a nursery school utilize some of the smaller buildings. Nevertheless, the building’s monstrous focal point has practically been untouched for more than two decades.
“It’s now become a problem for the town I believe, because its just like a white elephant, sitting there,” said Garden City resident Barry Smith.
“We need to get moving, the building is falling down,” said Garden City Mayor Brian Daughney.
Daughney says he believes designers came up with the perfect concept for the space. He can’t show the plans just yet, but tells CBS2 the proposal would house a hockey rink and a soccer field inside, while renting out other parts of the building.
“We want to make it top notch, sort of like what you would see on a university campus,” the mayor said. “We will figure out the financing, obviously, we will figure that out before we put a shovel in the ground and that is all going to be in the works.”
Many residents tell us they’re all for reconstructing the old school as long as it’s charm stays.
“I would love to see the character remain, it’s a historic building,” said Garden City resident Chris Emmel.
Even if that means raising tax dollars to pay for it.
“Absolutely, whatever the cost,” said Garden City resident Billy Walsh.
If all goes according to plan, construction on the Garden City building could start this spring. The mayor wants to continue to urge residents that this is just a concept and he wants to hear from you about it. A community forum was scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Garden City Casino. Officials say another is scheduled at the same location on July 26th, and others will be scheduled in the near future.