This morning around 50 people rallied for Grove Street School on Federal Hill.
Of course we’ve been reporting on this issue for years, but for the uninitiated the story goes like this: The Tarro family illegally demolished a portion of the school in early 2007 and the city has been fighting in the courts (and winning) to get the owners to shore up the building. Michael Tarro is an Assistant City Solicitor and is currently running to replace Steven Costantino in the General Assembly.
Mr. Tarro did not show up at today’s rally, but 5 of his supporters were there heckling during the speaking program. The Tarro supporters claim that the building is a neighborhood nuisance, attracts rats, is unsafe for children who play in it, and should be torn down. While there is no doubt that the building in it’s current condition has become a nuisance, the remedy for that nuisance is not to complete the demolition.
I would also like to point out that people have a personal responsibility for the safety of their children. If I had ever been injured while trespassing in an abandoned building as a child, I would have been grounded, my parents would not have demanded the building I was trespassing in be torn down. My parents probably would have made me apologize to the owners for being in their building.
The neighbors supporting demolition claimed that a park would be built on the site “for the children.” The Tarro family has always claimed that they need to tear down the building for parking for their funeral home across the street. A park has never been part of the plan, and it is certain that the city, with it’s financial house in disarray as it is, will not be building a park here.
Structural engineer and architect Will Yoder spoke about his assessment of the building and finds that the remaining portions (which is the vast majority of the structure) are structurally sound and that the building could be converted to housing or other uses.
After the rally, those of us with smart phones used them to report the buidling to the city via SeeClickFix.