Residents fight for future of a piece of Lafayette history

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Demolition for a piece of Lafayette’s history was put on hold.

City leaders said plans to tear down a home at 617 New York Street won’t happen just yet.

News 18 This Morning spoke to a Lafayette resident who said neighbors are doing everything they can to give a future to a piece of the city’s past.

A board that reads “Save This House” is plastered across the front of the vacant, historical home. Neighbors told News 18 it has been vacant for nearly a decade.

“We, as neighbors, have kept an eye on the place,” Lafayette resident Sam Bovio said. “We’ve kept anyone away from it, we’ve kept it secure. We’ve tried to just do what we can in small ways.”

Bovio has lived in the neighborhood for about six years. He said while the home may look like an eyesore to some, it’s a treasure to others.

“What I love about this house is the intimate architecture,” Bovio explained. “It just speaks ‘home’ but in a grand way. Sort of like in a beautiful, architectural poetry, that was created by the architect to say, ‘Yes, welcome, this is home.’”

Bovio said he’s done his research and the home dates back to the 19th century. He said it’s homes like this that not only keep a piece of Lafayette’s past alive, but it also shapes the future of the community.

“That is the identity of this community,” Bovio explained. “And that’s why people would perhaps come to Lafayette because of that particular identity culture.”

Lafayette city leaders said they agree. While the home was deemed an unsafe structure, and will have to be demolished if it continues to deteriorate, the city isn’t planning on taking any action just yet.

“There was someone that did buy it on taxes,” Lafayette Building Inspector Scott Dieterle said. “So, now we’re trying to find that person to see what their intentions are with the home.”

Neighbors said they hope those intentions are to clean and fix it up, so it’s not torn down.

“Make it your home,” Bovio said. “Join in on the great, hip lifestyle of the central city of Lafayette.”

The Lafayette Hearing Authority voted Tuesday to continue the discussion about this property at its next meeting on June 8, scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at Lafayette City Hall.

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