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And many of the residents of Bloomington, Indiana are, shockingly, not very pleased about this development. What’s the big deal, though? Yeah, I understand Fiji, as signed off by the university, is proposing turning historical landmarks and iconic Bloomington dwellings into rubble, but have these residents seen what the fraternity houses going up these days look like?
We’re in the middle of an arms race, and if you’re not bulldozing century-and-a-half old homes with aesthetic and historical appeal to throw up a $5 million bone-booze-haze castle in its place, you’re not trying.
“But that colonial-style house on the corner was the home of the university’s first ever president back in the 19th century!” Chill. It’s not like he still lives there or anything, people. Plus, in only six short months it’s going to be the site of beer-in-hand lawn games, two-story beer bongs, public walks of shame, and a litany of atrocities of which that neighborhood has never seen before.
So, why is this happening?
Indiana University is expanding Maurer School of Law and signed a deal with Phi Gamma Delta to use the land their current house occupies. In return, the fraternity will be granted land at Eighth and Woodlawn next to the Kappa Alpha Theta house. That area also happens to be a part of the University Courts Historic District. Why the university chose these historic grounds to turn over to the hands of fraternity members, I’m not sure. “Neighborly” and “responsible” have never been words used to sincerely describe fraternity members.
The community is fighting back.
At a city council meeting Wednesday, residents and members of Bloomington’s Historic Preservation Board spoke out against the plan. Board of Restorations member Derek Richie thinks a new fraternity would cause multiple problems.
“I can only imagine after every winning IU basketball game what kind of parties there’ll be right across the street from you. I’m glad I don’t live there,” he said.
County Councilwoman Cheryl Munson thinks the university should protect the district’s aesthetic.
“It’s important for its architectural history and for heritage tourism for the people who come to Bloomington to truly enjoy what has been preserved and taken care of for a long time,” Munson says. “So it benefits not only Bloomington, but also Indiana University to maintain the character of these structures.”
The Fijis still have to raise the funds before wheels go in motion to break ground and construct a new house, so even if the plan holds up, it’s not a done deal.
If it does happen, though, and if these historic homes are flattened in the name of frat, this move will be a contender for the “F Move of the Year” award.
[via Indiana Public Media]