AKDAR Shrine temple demolition begins

Saturday, May 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The demolition of one mid-town building signals the coming construction of a controversial high-rise. Destruction of the Akdar Shrine Temple at 21st and Boston is underway and KOTV's Sean Mossman says back in September, neighbors fought against the proposed condo building. They lost that fight, and as of this week, they're beginning to see the change they struggled against.

The sounds of heavy equipment fill the air near the normally quiet Maple Ridge neighborhood. The Akdar Shrine Temple, a source of controversy when it was built more than a decade ago, is being torn down. In its place will stand an equally controversial 15-story high rise condominium building. Back in September, some neighbors tried to stop the construction, but lost their fight. Now, many long-time residents have resigned themselves to the fact that the project will be done, including MaryAnn Keeley, "I think it is not gonna bother our neighborhood. I'm sure it will be done right." Residents had two big complaints when the high-rise was proposed. The first, is that the building will look out of place in their neighborhood. The second is that the construction will cause too much noise. Rev Mark Cooper says, "In between you're gonna have three years of construction here so, it's gonna be kind of noisy as it goes up." But, residents will just have to live with the continuing sound of construction vehicles.

Both MaryAnn Keeley and Mark Cooper say they're happy with the decision to build the condos. They say when they're complete, they'll add to the value of the property that they already own. Some people are not as open-minded. Someone scribbled graffiti on the wall, voicing a displeasure with developer Paul Coury. Keeley says she's disappointed that one of her neighbors could act so immaturely. "I understand how they feel. The older you get change is difficult."

KOTV left messages with the neighborhood association that first opposed the new condos in September. The association still has a lawsuit pending in federal court against the city. They claim the zoning change to allow the high-rise is illegal.