An online petition calling for restoring Old School Square has collected more than 2,000 signatures in its first day, according to organizers.
"It's incredible," said Holland Ryan, the chief operating officer of Old School Square. "It definitely shows the city and community needs us and loves what we do."
The petition was posted on the group's website and social media on Thursday in response to a 3-2 vote by city commissioners earlier in the week to end the lease in a dispute over documents for an audit.
Ryan said they have submitted everything the city has asked for and he is puzzled why this is happening.
The Old School Square has become a landmark and cultural center over the last three decades with a museum, theater and featuring outdoor shows.
Long-time Delray Beach resident, Yvonne Lee Odom, said her first teaching job was in the old school house.
"Angry is not even the word," she said in describing her feelings about the dispute.
Odom said she signed the petition and believes the ending of the lease is unfair.
Old School Square organizers said they plan to gather as much public support as they can.
"Our board, our staff, we all been here over 20 years. It's a place we love, a community we love," Ryan said. "It's a thing we want to see preserved."
Despite the petition, city manager Terrence Moore posted a Friday statement on Facebook that says the city is moving forward to secure a new management company for Old School Square.
Read Moore's full Facebook post below: