Old Central Ward School owner plans to appeal recent ruling to go foward with demolition

DENISON, TX -- A district court decided Friday that Denison can go forth with the demolition process of the old Central Ward School, but owner of the building, James Roa, says he is appealing the 15th district court's ruling.

"I feel that justice was not served," Roa said.

"The judge ruled in our favor and now he (Roa) has 30 days to appeal the district court's ruling, and we are waiting for the expiration of that 30 day period to move forward," Denison City Manager Robert Hanna said.

During the appeals process the city cannot demolish the building and Roa is not allowed to make any repairs to it.

The city says the old elementary school needs to come down because it is a danger to the public.

"There are parts of the building that are falling off. Kids play in the field there and falling building pieces could land on them," Hanna said.

However, Roa says he has made repairs and the building is no longer a safety hazard.

"I fixed the chimney. There are no bricks falling from there so all this side fine. Around the corner, fine too. I removed all the broke glass from the first floor," Roa said.

City Manager Robert Hanna says some repairs have been made, but not enough to bring the building up to code. Roa, a Colombia native, dreams of turning the old school into a multicultural center. He says he is a victim of discrimination and has sent a complaint to the U.S. Attorney Generals Office.

"There have been a lot of instances in writing and in person where I have felt like I have been treated like a second class citizen," Roa said.

Hanna says Roa has been treated fairly through the whole process.

"We don't discriminate. We treat everybody just like I would treat my own mother walking through the door. That's the level of service I want to provide our citizens," Hanna said.

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