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Published: Wednesday, 11/1/2000

City obtains permission to tear down Welfare Bldg.

A temporary restraining order that barred the razing of the former St. Mary's parish house was dissolved yesterday, clearing the way for the city to demolish the building Monday.

In lifting the restraining order, Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Frederick McDonald stated, in part, in a written ruling that the city has complied substantially with the requirements necessary to tear down the building.

Deborah Younger, assistant chief operating officer for the city, said the 121-year-old building at 618 North Michigan St., also known as the Welfare Building, will be demolished Monday as long as salvaging operations are complete.

Demolition was delayed when an opposition group sued the city Oct. 24, claiming it hadn't followed the proper procedures to determine whether the building should be destroyed

The city plans to raze the structure and give the land to the federal government. In exchange, the city will get land on Summit Street where the Federal Building is located.

Rick Van Landingham, an activist who led the opposition group, said he sees little hope that the former parish house will be saved but believes the lawsuit may help preserve other buildings.

“I think our involvement in this increases the likelihood that other smaller-sized buildings downtown, as well as others in the historic district, have a better chance of being saved,” he said.

He said an appeal of the judge's ruling is unlikely.

Ms. Younger said city employees did make some “technical” mistakes, but didn't intentionally attempt to thwart the process. She said the administration learned from the process. “Everybody involved in this can cite the plan commission rules backwards and forwards now,” she said.

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