Demolition plans on hold, west siders try to save ‘historic’ home

Posted at 9:05 PM, Aug 25, 2014
and last updated 2014-08-25 23:37:01-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A moratorium has been filed to keep the wrecking ball away from a long standing Grand Rapids home.

A committee will decide whether or not to make the home a historic site. The home sits in the 2500 hundred block of Lake Michigan Drive.

The City of Grand Rapids said that the owners of the property, Covenant Village of the Great Lakes, has plans to knock the structure down and not rebuild on the property.

City planning said that the company had been twice denied a demolition permit before an appeals board overturned those rulings in June.

"I think that you are taking away from the character of the home. You can't build a house like that anymore," said Shanda Stolk.

Stolk has lived across from the home for 11 years. She said that not only is the house worth preserving as a historical site, but demolishing properties is not in the best interest of her West Side neighborhood. "You only have a certain amount of houses around here that have the historical value."

With the house set to be torn down, residents made a plea to the city, and a moratorium was instated. It essentially puts demolition plans on hold until a city-appointed committee evaluates the home's historic value to determine whether to recommend the house be turned into a historic structure; thus saving it.

"The daughters of the family that sold it really wanted to try to save the home and there's been a number of west siders that have been interested in preserving it," said Suzanna Schulz, planning director for the City of Grand Rapids.

"There are five people, both who have historic preservation commission experience and experience in history studies, as well as former board of zoning appeals board members. So, we have a group that is very familiar with the west side," said Schulz.

Kristin Levandoski grew up on the West Side and takes her two dogs to the park across the street every day. She said that preserving the West Side should be a top priority.

"I would like to keep it as it is," said Levandoski." "It's character to the neighborhood. The West Side community is very close. We don't have many of those houses left."

The City of Grand Rapids said that it expects the preservation committee to complete their evaluation within six months, adding they have extra time because the owner of the property doesn't have any construction plans following a possible demolition.

We also reached out to Covenant Village of the Great Lakes, but they declined to comment for our story.