Mayor: Demolition plans in the works for St. Francis Hospital in Beech Grove

(WISH Photo)

BEECH GROVE, Ind. (WISH) — There are new plans to tear down the old St. Francis Hospital in Beech Grove.

The building near Albany Street and 17th Avenue has been vacant for three years and a new hospital was built on the southeast side of Indianapolis.

Mayor Dennis Buckley said he met with construction and hospital leaders Thursday to talk about the game plan for demolition.

He said there are a couple of things he would like to see in place of the empty lot, but it won’t happen overnight.

Some people living in the surrounding neighborhood of what used to be St. Francis Hospital said it is time for the building to go.

“Right now I just feel like it’s an eyesore because it’s empty and it doesn’t have a purpose anymore,” said Paula Honebrink, Beech Grove resident.

Honebrink and her family have lived across from the hospital for about 10 years now.

She said she hasn’t had any problems with crime since the hospital moved operations.

“Saint Francis has provided security. The van makes its normal rounds and they come down the street. We have even talked to them a few times,” said Honebrink. “The fire department often uses the fire garage. I have seen them do training there a lot.”

But that could change after demolition. Mayor Dennis Buckley said he just doesn’t know exactly when.

“I don’t know when they will start the permit process. It is very, very lengthy,” said Buckley. “You just can’t go in and knock it down.”

Mayor Buckley said it has been a long time coming after several failed attempts to re-develop the property.

This time around he is hoping for something that could help their local economy, whether it’s housing, green space, or something else.

“I wouldn’t mind seeing retail or something that brings revenue back into the city, but those discussions are way too early for that right now,” said Buckley.

Honebrink said she knows it will be a while before the change. She is hoping that hospital and city leaders will include residents in that conversation when the time comes.

“I know it can’t stay empty and I know something has to be done and I hope they really consider the community’s opinion when they make their decision,” said Honebrink.

Starting Monday, Mayor Buckley said construction crews will tear down the skywalk crossing over to 17th Street.

The mayor said the process should take at least two to three days and that drivers can expect to see some road closures in the area.

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