Community action committee MoveOn.org has circulating a petition throughout the West Side in order to prevent the demolition of the Brach’s candy site at 401 N. Cicero Ave.
The petition seeks to reignite interest in converting the 28 acre site with a 500,000 sq. foot factory building, which lay dormant for over a decade, into a high school which Moveon organizers say Austin needs.
In the petition statement, the group says, “the Austin community is in dire need of a new school and performing arts center. Stop the demolition of the Brach’s factory and revive our community with the Root2Fruit development campus.”
As of Tuesday morning, the group has collected 43 signatures, just eight away from its goal of 50.
One of those signing onto the petition is 8th District state representative LaShawn Ford, who came out in support of it on August 20.
Ford’s verbalized support of the petition occurred mere days after ML Realty Partners, the owners of the building and surrounding property, announced it planned to bulldoze the site and make it attractive to prospective buyers.
Ford says he does not oppose the demolition of the remaining building at the Brach’s site, but he does believe that the site would be better served as a college preparatory facility which can attract businesses and middle-income home buyers to Austin.
“I don’t oppose the actual bulldozing, because I think the site has become a breeding ground for rodents,” said Ford.
“But the question is: What should happen after the structure is torn down? Members [of Moveon.org] and myself believe that after all the deliberations about the site have concluded, building a school there is the best use for it. That would benefit the entire community.”
Ford says that the petition can have an impact on the current plans for the site if enough members of the community declare their support for it.
“There is strength in numbers and if enough people on the West Side voice their support for it, I believe it will lead to a re-evaluation of the current plan.”