More than 4,400 residents answered the single question Wednesday - whether or not they wanted the village to float serial bonds in the amount of $3.75 million to fund the demolition of the Main Building and Ellis Hall.
According to Brian Ridgway, 3,290 residents (194 paper ballots) voted no while 1,120 (53 paper ballots) voted yes.
With the bond defeated, demolition is "unlikely" since the village "will not have funds available to proceed with the removal of the structures," according to the latest edition of Village Facts.
"Thanks to the residents for saving St. Paul's," Mayor Don Brudie said late Wednesday.
Lines formed early outside of the Field House as the polls opened at noon, with dozens of people showing up as soon as the doors opened.
Peter Negri, president of the Committee to Save St. Paul's (CSSP), told Patch that the numbers speak for themselves. “It's a clear indication of how the residents feel about this building," he said. "I'm just thrilled that people finally had a chance to voice their opinion."
Negri, who was celebrating at Walk Street with the many folks who have been campaigning for preservation, added, "The real work starts now. Our goal is to have the village consider, seriously, our proposal. This is a mandate to do something. We can't just sit back."
Trustee Andrew Cavanaugh, another proponent of preservation, added, "Those of us who are commited to the preservation of this historic, iconic structure are gratified by the strong show of support of our neighbors and friends. The task of preservation, though, has only begun. Now this board of trustees needs to work proactively with the Committee to Save St. Paul's and others to prepare a viable operational and financial plan that will permit the village to enjoy the maximum benefit it can from this irreplaceable resource."
Francine and Mark Ryan, founders of the Eastern Property Owners for Saving St. Paul's, explained that the bond was defeated because they were able to do two very important things. The first was that they gave village residents reasons to care about saving St. Paul’s by getting everyone involved – from high school students to senior citizens. The second was that they utilized communication tools to “get the facts out.”
“Garden City residents, it turns out, had a deep wellspring of affection and emotional attachment to St. Paul's,” Francine said. “We just needed to remind them how important it is to the village and their future.”