The archdiocese of Boston and the Gate of Heaven parish in South Boston have decided to turn the shuttered Gate of Heaven elementary school on East Fourth Street into a parking lot.
The decision caps years of back and forth over whether to turn the property into apartments or condos.
Instead, it will be demolished and become the site of about 40 parking spots that the adjacent parish will use for itself and for generating revenue, including through renting out to neighborhood residents.
It was some of those neighborhood residents who rose up in vociferous opposition to various plans to convert the three-story building into much-needed housing for Southie and Boston at large (the school closed in 2009).
Objections ranged from concerns about traffic and—yes—parking to the loss of a supposed neighborhood amenity such as a vacant school building.
Condemnation of the decision on social media over the long Martin Luther King Day weekend focused not so much on the parish, which needs the revenue, but on the opposition over the years to housing at the site. (The parish’s old gym, for instance, did become housing in 2014—24 upscale condos, to be precise.)
Critics noted the city’s housing crunch and dismissed the notion of trading fresh apartments and/or condos for more parking spaces. There is also the apparent irony of those opposed to more traffic now getting a parking lot that will invariably lure dozens more cars at a time to the area.