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Nolan: Playing monopoly on Melrose

BY RACHEL NOLAN | AUGUST 24, 2012 6:30 AM

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The University of Iowa has been taking a bit of flak from the public lately for knocking down a historical house on Melrose Avenue. And many have accused the UI of “playing monopoly” with the residential housing in Iowa City.

So what reason does the university have for tearing down residential houses, including one that is deemed historic? To build a parking lot.

I realize that these facts sound insensitive, but as Iowa City residents, we all know how valuable and necessary parking lots are.

Set to be finished before November, the new parking lot will end up being 300 spaces, said Tom Moore, the UI spokesperson.

“The intent of the university is to better serve the patients and visitors to the Children’s Hospital,” Moore said.

The people who are inconvenienced the most by the construction are the hospital staff, who will park in this newly constructed lot.  

The plan is to tear down hospital ramp No. 2, which will remove about 700 spaces, and then the long-term plan, about 20 to 30 years from now, is to build an underground parking garage.

There has been a lot of debate between the UI and Melrose residents, who accused the university of tearing down a house with intrinsic historical value.

However, the houses don’t carry the same historical value that opponents to the construction let on.
“Our view of the property was that it was in a state of disrepair,” said Moore, noting that the house had been serving UI students as a party house for the past several years.

Jean Walker, a spokeswoman for the Melrose Neighborhood Association, said in an email, “[Melrose residents] are very disappointed that the 100-year-old house was demolished but are very glad the UI preserved the barn.”

What’s more important to you? Preserving an old, “historic” party house or building more parking spaces for hospital staff serving sick patients and their visitors at the hospital?

UI has ensured that everything of historic value has been preserved, while still maintaining the campus parking.


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