City Council orders St. Paul school, church advocacy group back to negotiating table

The St. Paul City Council says the last ditch effort to both conserve the St. Andrew’s Church and build the future of Twin Cities German Immersion School is not just important, but meaningful to the community.

“If the council votes in support of local historic designation, the building can still be razed,” said Amy Brendmoen, the City Council President.

The harsh truth for those who love the former St. Andrew’s Church is that making it a historical site will not save the 92-year-old building.

“I believe the people of St. Paul, all the neighbors, whether you’re for or against, you’re all thoughtful, intelligent, hard-working people and want what’s best for St. Paul, and I really believe there’s a solution in coming together,” said Dai Thao, a St. Paul City Councilor.

On the day the City Council was slated to vote to designate the former church a Heritage Preservation Site or allow the school to demolish it for expansion, they instead called both sides back to the table.

“Let’s figure out a solution where the church can be saved and the school can meet its needs and that’s what we’ve been saying since day one and win-win has been our language from the start,” said Tom Goldstein, of Save Historic St. Andrew’s.

Members of the Save Historic St. Andrew’s group and school leaders now have two weeks to come to an agreement.

“Realistically, I think if there’s been a full year that the Save Historic St. Andrew’s group has been asking for some kind of alternative, and hasn’t come forward with a proposal, I’m not particularly optimistic they’ll be able to come forward with one now,” said Kelly Laudon, a board member of the school.

The ball is now in the Save Historic St. Andrew’s group’s court as they will look to reach a decision that meets the needs of the school’s nearly 600 students and preserves the Warrendale neighborhood’s church.

“We cannot keep living and learning in the space we have,” said Aubrey Laudon, a TCGIS 7th grader.

A third-party mediator will work with both sides over the next two weeks to help them reach a solution.