Neighbors fighting to save a former Como Park church from the wrecking ball have been granted a reprieve.
But there's a catch.
A Ramsey County judge has issued a temporary restraining order preventing the demolition.
However, Judge Jennifer Frisch is requiring preservationists to provide a $1.9 million bond to the Twin Cities German Immersion School by July 22, or the restraining order is off.
In June, a group of neighbors and preservationists called Save Historic St. Andrew's-Friends of Warrendale filed the lawsuit in Ramsey County District Court, seeking to save the church under the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act.
School officials want to raze the 92-year-old former church, which has been repurposed as a gymnasium, cafeteria and performance space, and replace it with a $5.1 million addition they say will better meet the needs of their 580 students.
Julie Alkatout, chairwoman of the school's board of directors, said the ruling attempts to strike a balance in the long, costly and emotional fight. "We are disappointed that we were unable to persuade the court on this initial record that a preservation order would impermissibly undermine educating schoolchildren in a proper setting," she said in a statement.
"We appreciate that the court recognized the substantial harm the school will suffer if the project is delayed, and we will await July 22 to see if the Friends of Warrendale will post a bond in the amount necessary to repay increased costs to the school," Alkatout said.
If bond is posted, the school is prepared to appeal the decision.
James Walsh • 612-673-7428