What to do with the old St. Francis Xavier school?

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A plan to knock down the old St. Francis Xavier School and replace it with Catholic student housing is being met with resistance from several groups, including the neighborhood association.

The Catholic diocese is trying to figure out what to do with the empty building. The parish wants a community center, but the diocese and the developer want a dorm.

The last time the developer was before the parish, many raised concerns over the height of the structure and that there wasn't enough parking for the number of students.

The developer downsized the plan, but many still reject the urban design.

"The scale of that building, based on what I'm seeing here, is frightening," one parishioner explained at a public meeting Tuesday night.

But Steve Harms, with Tri-North Builders said the size is necessary.

"Right now as the project sits, I'm not sure how we're going to be able to reduce the scale and still have the project be viable," he said.

Over the years, the St. Francis parish has used part of the building as a meeting area and utilized the full kitchen. The new proposal cuts out those amenities.

Parishioners say they were told by the chancellor of the diocese the deal fell through a month ago, so they were shocked to find out about the revised proposal.

"You have said it over and over tonight, it is revenue," said parishioner Amy Pennington. "We were kicked out of there two years ago. Two years ago, that building could've been saved."

Another parishioner said the lack of communication throughout the project has been a big issue.

"Technically, we have a lot of time, so we'll just keep working at and improving the communication," Harms said. "I think will help."

No one from the diocese was at Tuesday's meeting.

The parish and the neighborhood group plan to go to the next city planning meeting in September to make sure their voices are heard.

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