Greek Village complex on hold

A meeting is planned for January, the earliest the group and Bruininks can meet.

Kevin McCahill

It’ll be 2006 before a decision is made on whether the greeks will get their village.

The Greek Village project remains on hold until next year as University officials discuss stadium plans and question whether the student complex will be beneficial to students or create bad publicity.

Lorna Fox, a member of the Greek Village committee for the Minnesota Greek Alumni Partnership, said the University is currently waiting for further discussion of how the site will be run.

During fall, area residents raised concerns to University and Minneapolis officials about perceived student carelessness toward neighborhood property. A Fox 9 news investigation of University athletes and underage drinking also put the University under the microscope.

“There have been some questions about general campus behavior,” Fox said. “That has affected the whole project. But I don’t think we’re the only people being affected by campus behavior of late and all the publicity.”

She described the University and the greeks as having reached a stalemate, but the Village committee is still planning on moving ahead eventually.

The University has been working with the Greek Village Work Group since discussion of the project began last year. The plans call for creating a 100,000 square foot co-ed all-greek housing complex in the 1700 block of University Avenue Southeast. The University would lease the land to Greek Village organizers.

Vice Provost for Student Affairs Jerry Rinehart said University concerns regarding student behavior aren’t the main reason the project is moving slowly. He said possible stadium construction in the area and future University planning also are being discussed.

“I don’t think (student behavior) is directly an issue,” he said. “There are so many things demanding the president’s time. With all the activity going on, we want to make sure we get the strategic positioning done correctly.”

Rinehart said a meeting has been scheduled for late January to look again at the proposal.

He said the Village idea itself isn’t being repressed by the University.

“Some very thoughtful work has gone into (Village plans),” he said. “I think it has potential.”

He said that because the greek community plays a large role in the University community, officials want to make sure the project is successful for everyone involved.

If the Village goes through, the University will lease its property for the project.

Mike Loehrer, president of the Greek Village project, said he hasn’t heard any official word on why the project has been delayed, but believed it was related to stadium discussions. He said he heard a rumor that there were concerns about student behavior, but couldn’t verify them.

“We heard rumors about students and parties, and we wanted to find out more,” he said. “But we haven’t found anything that relates to us.”

Eric Kruse, the owner’s representative for the Greek Village said more project dicussions are slated for January because that was the earliest time the group could meet with University President Bob Bruininks.

Some students like the greek community the way it is.

“I like seeing the frat houses,” said genetics sophomore John Eckstrom. “They are a part of college life.”