Holy Angels alumni, parents hold vigil against lawn development - KMSP-TV

Holy Angels alumni, parents hold vigil against lawn development

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A community group of alumni and parents from the Academy of Holy Angels came together for a candlelight vigil on the corner of Nicollet Avenue and 66h Street in Richfield to save their lawn on Monday.

The group gathered at 6 p.m. to raise public awareness of a pending sale of school property to help pay down some of the $9.5 million in debt the school accrued over the last decade.

The group Fill the Halls is made up of more than 1,000 alumni and parents who want to explore alternative fundraising options to preserve what they call "pristine property" by persuading the Board of Trustees that other options are viable. In fact, the group has set a goal of raising $1.5 million by June, and leaders say they are on track; however, they have been denied an audience to make a formal presentation before the board.

Since November, negotiations with a developer that hopes to purchase an entire corner of the campus that borders the intersection of Nicollet and 66th in order to build a retail strip mall that would include a 24-hour national pharmacy chain with a drive-thru.

Critics of the plan argue that the sale serves no direct educational or curricular purpose and would take over the school's "front lawn," and Fill the Halls contends the plan has not been vetted or openly debated.

"No reliable polling or surveying has been conducted by the school to determine where school constituents actually stand on the controversial issue," Fill the Halls stated in a press release.

Campaign members with Fill the Halls also warn that the contentious sale could have negative consequences for the school, especially if dissatisfied alumni withdraw financial support as a result.

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