IU advancing demolition plan opposed by city

Indiana University's Board of Trustees is expected to vote this week on a plan to move or tear down six houses in a Bloomington neighborhood that city officials have been trying to protect.

The houses are within the University Courts Historic District, which was created in March by the Bloomington City Council on the edge of the IU campus. A new three-story Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house is planned for the site in a land swap with the university.

IU spokesman Mark Land said the school plans to move four houses to locations within a couple blocks and demolish two others.

"People had the assumption that we'd tear them all down, but really we're not tearing down more than two," Land told The Herald-Times.

The Board of Trustees is scheduled to consider the proposal during its meetings Thursday and Friday at IU South Bend.

University officials don't need the city's permission to demolish or move the houses because the school is a state institution.

Opponents have said it would be a mistake to destroy houses in the neighborhood, which dates back about 100 years and is the last area in the city with brick streets. About 65 properties are included in the historic district, more than half of which the school owns.

The six houses that would be moved or razed are now occupied by various university offices.

Land said that work in the neighborhood won't begin until the fraternity has raised the money to build its house, although he said fundraising is going well.

The fraternity's proposed design calls for a roughly 51,000-square-foot house and 17 parking spaces.

In exchange for the new site, Phi Gamma Delta is giving up its existing house, which is in the oldest section of campus next to the IU Maurer School of Law

Land said the university hasn't decided how it will use that site.

"We want it for the academic portion for campus," he said.

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