I read with interest your editorial of Sept. 20, entitled “Now is the Time to Focus on the Future.” I would respectfully disagree with your conclusion that the City of Vincennes and its residents should embrace Vincennes University's plan to demolish four square blocks of the Vincennes Historic District to build “off-campus housing.”
While I can appreciate Vincennes University's concern that its enrollment has decreased for four consecutive years, I don't believe that it makes senses to trade “off-campus housing” units for decent and contributing structures in our community like the residence at 617 N. First St. “If we build it, they will come” might have worked for Kevin Costner in “Field of Dreams,” but there is absolutely no guarantee that building more off-campus housing units will improve the enrollment at Vincennes University. Has anyone considered what the housing units at the “French Village” will look like in 10 years? How about 20? Has anyone taken a drive lately by “off-campus housing” units that already exist?
Here's a radical idea. Why not renovate or replace some of Vincennes University's aging dormitories on campus without “clear-cutting” neighborhoods in the Historic District? Or, how about building some of these new units in other parts of the campus that the University already owns.
The Vincennes/Knox Preservation Foundation has serious concerns about this project and its potential for a negative impact on our community. We hope that Vincennes University will reconsider its present plan for the “French Village.”
Crowley is president of the Vincennes/Knox Preservation Foundation.