An undecided fate for St. Paul’s school

The Garden City Village voted against demolishing the historic St. Paul’s Catholic boys school five years ago, yet the building still sits boarded up.

The all-boys college preparatory and science boarding school which dates back to 1871, has been closed since the 1990s. The massive 500-room structure, along with all of its history, seems to be getting left behind by the Village of Garden City where it resides. In 2008 a village-wide opinion poll was held on whether or not to demolish the building but the attendees turned the idea down and voted against demolition.

The residents of Garden City cannot agree on what to do with St. Paul’s, but still seem to care about it. Some locals have worked with the village board in getting maintenance done to the outside of the building and there is an active committee dedicated to saving it.

The president of the Committee to Save St. Paul’s, Peter Negri, said, “The Committee to Save St. Paul’s has never wavered from its strong belief that this magnificent historic structure deserves to be preserved and rehabilitated for use by the entire Garden City community.”

When Mayor Nicholas P. Episcopia of Garden City was asked about St. Paul’s, his response didn’t offer much hope. “The village does not know how to move forward with the school,” he said.

Maureen Traxler, communications director for the Committee to Save St. Paul’s, said the group has not been included on any dialogue in about five years.

Furthermore, President Negri commented, “The current state of affairs, in which nothing has been done, represents demolition by neglect and a failure by the Board of Trustees…failure of vision and imagination in refusing to address any plans that would ask the residents to vote on an expenditure of funds to create a priceless legacy for future generations.”

Photo: Jessica Harrington

Photo: Jessica Harrington