Windsor Greek community defers decision on Grace site
Mayor Eddie Francis says deal is not contingent on land swap deal with Greek Orthodox community
Windsor's Greek community will take another month to mull over a "Greektown" proposal for the old Grace Hospital site.
Mayor Eddie Francis pitched the idea to community members at a meeting Sunday and said they appreciated hearing the facts.
"I think it's fair to say the mood walking into the beginning of the meeting, and the mood throughout the presentation changed; certainly the mood at the end of the meeting, the fact that most people got up and gave us a standing ovation, there was an applause and people were very pleased," Francis said. "So the mood was very different at the end of the meeting than it was at the beginning of the meeting, and I think that was the result of having the facts and having all of their questions answered."
Francis said the city is not interested in exchanging the Grace site for land owned by the Greek community on Walker Road.
The two sides would instead work out a deal for the sale of the Grace property. The Grace site has been appraised at $2.1 million.
"It's a decision that I'm sure they will make after careful consideration and they're looking to the future as any community would, and as we would expect them to," Francis said.
The Greek community will explore the idea, and meet again in a month.
"In a month, we will take it back and then whatever happens, happens. But they were very upset because they wanted to vote," Mike Margaritis, the president of the Greek Orthodox community, said of his members. "But I say, 'How can you vote? There's no Walker Road. The mayor doesn't want Walker Road.'"
Stravros Gavrilidis, first vice president of the Greek Community of Windsor, said he expected a decision Sunday. However, he understands why the community wants to take its time.
"It's hard to make a well-informed decision through hearsay, rumours and Facebook," he said of the lead-up to the Sunday meeting. "We did expect a decision [Sunday], however, we're not giving an ultimatum to the community."
Gavrilidis said the Greektown proposal has its pros and cons. It's close to the riverfront and new aquatic centre, he noted as positives.
"It's been a long-fallen area for some many years," he said of the area at University and Crawford avenues. "I don't see it as revitalized as they say it is. It's a nice street that can be revitalized."