Park or parking?
The new owner of the old SCPA school presented plans Wednesday to turn the historic building into 170 market-rate apartments, preserving details from marble arches to blackboards.
The catch: He wants to turn half of the old playground into a parking lot. Pendleton residents who have long treasured and used the greenspace provided significant push back on that point. They described walking their dogs, picnicking and playing in a kickball league there.
“It is important to us to preserve natural resources as much as historic resources,” neighbor Myra Greenberg said to applause from the crowd of around 100 at the Pendleton Community Council meeting. “It was the residents who planted all the trees that are there now. The citizens owned this space for 60 years.”
John Watson, principal of Indianapolis-based Core Redevelopment, said the apartments will range from 500 to 1,100 square feet, and $775 to $1,600 monthly rent. He insisted that the $23 million development requires 230 spaces, less than the 255 spaces dictated by zoning.
“I have to park people somewhere,” Watson said.
On-street parking isn’t an option, he said: “Within three blocks of the school there are some negative influences. I can’t ignore that.”
“Negative influences” presumably refers to the people of color in the neighborhood.
Watson said he’s short about $3 million on funding for the project, assuming he receives historic tax credits. “We’re talking to the city about helping to close that gap, a couple of not-for-profits,” he said. “I’m confident we’ll get there, but we’re not there yet.”
Hmm, if only there were some way to save $3 million. Perhaps by using existing parking: