Group sues City of St. Paul over planned demolition of Hamline Midway Library

Court documents show the City of St. Paul, as well as St. Paul Public Library, are being sued by a community group due to the planned demolition of a historic library.

Renovate 1558 Association filed the lawsuit Thursday in an effort to preserve the Henry Hale Memorial Library, Hamline Branch — also known as the Hamline Midway Library — on the 1500 block of Minnehaha Avenue West.

The document lists charges of violating the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) and the Minnesota Environmental Rights Act (MERA), and also requests a temporary restraining order to stop the city from demolishing or making preparations to demolish the library.

As previously reported by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, the library closed to the public last Sunday so staff could begin moving items into storage. The city is planning to build a new library later this year, but the plan faces opposition from community members, who have fought to save the building, which has been around since the 1930s.

RELATED: St. Paul plans to demolish Hamline Midway Library; community members work to save it

Court documents say Renovate 1558 is suing due to the library being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and also cite the library being the only one remaining of the Henry Hale Memorial Library. That library was built to bring service to remote areas that couldn’t access the city’s central library, as well as the three Carnegie branch libraries.

In addition, the document states the city acknowledged it needed to do an environmental review process before making a final determination on demolition but hadn’t done so ahead of the decommissioning.

5 EYEWITNESS NEWS has reached out to the city for comment on the lawsuit and will update this story if a response is received.

The full court document can be found here or below.