Northland Community Council President Emmanuel V. Remy is urging members of the group to keep pressing Columbus City Schools officials to find new uses for soon-to-close Brookhaven High School and its surrounding property.
Speaking at the NCC's April 1 meeting, Remy said the district has no intention of selling the building and grounds and may find a new use for the 17-acre property by the fall of 2015 -- if local residents continue to make district officials aware of their displeasure with the decision to close the academic institution, now in its 50th year, and with the site being vacant for an extended period of time.
"I will tell you that it's going to take a community effort," Remy said. "Keep the pressure on the city school board."
At the community council's March meeting, Remy and other civic group representatives expressed bitterness at what they felt was little warning from the district about the closing and scant opportunity to voice their views. That discussion took place on the same evening school board members were preparing to take a unanimous vote to shutter Brookhaven, along with a middle school and two elementary buildings.
Last week, Remy said he has since held talks with, among others, Carole J. Olshavsky, the district's senior executive for capital improvements, in light of the board's decision.
"It became clear to me that they think that is the most valuable piece of real estate among the ones they closed," he said.
"They're not going to let Brookhaven go, I can assure you," Remy added later in the meeting.
In his meetings with district officials, Remy said he urged them to find some new purpose for the Brookhaven building by no later than the fall of 2015. None of those with whom he spoke seemed to think that was going to be a problem, Remy indicated.
In the meantime, along with continuing to urge school board members to return the building and grounds off Karl Road to use, Remy said it is incumbent on local residents to keep an eye on the property to prevent vandalism and report incidents of graffiti.
"It's a little hard to keep an eye on that building," said Ken Gilbert, president of the Forest Park Civic Association.
Some residents on streets in his neighborhood of Clinton Estates can observe the property, Remy replied.