A plan to demolish six historic houses in Bloomington to make room for a fraternity is angering residents who say they’ve been left out of the planning process.
The Indiana University Foundation signed a deal with IU’s Phi Gamma Delta, also known as FIJI, earlier this summer. The agreement would expand IU’s Maurer School of Law into the space currently occupied by the fraternity.
In return, IU would give FIJI property near Eighth and Woodlawn streets next to the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.
According to IU Spokesperson Mark Land, nothing will happen unless FIJI raises enough money to build the new house, which could take years.
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.”
IU Spokesperson Land thinks those opposed should consider Indiana’s construction history.
“We do care about creating buildings that are in character with the community’s history and in character with the flavor of the university,” Land says. “We’re not going to do anything that’s going to be out of character with that.”
FIJI members were unable to comment for this story.