Somebody reduced our heritage to a pile of scrap, and that somebody needs to be held accountable.
As my father used to like to say,
Something stinks in the state of Denmark
The building is gone, and that won’t change, but the process by which it happened stinks of corruption. And, all fingers point to city hall.
The only answer is an independent investigation by a neutral third party. They need to have the authority to investigate the process and EVERYONE involved.
The following questions require answers for a start.
- When was the last engineering report completed, and what did it say?
- Why was the demolition order issued on Christmas eve?
- It usually takes a while to arrange a demolition crew, yet this demolition took place in less than a week. Explain the circumstances under which this occurred.
- Mr. Purcell’s LinkedIn page states his education is in the field of architecture. What expertise does he possess, if any, to determine a building is unsafe. Purcell’s LinkedIn page
- The timing of the order left little opportunity for opposition. When the city was made aware an application was filed for a temporary injunction, why didn’t the city wait for that outcome before proceeding?
- The Heritage designation only protected the original portion of the Preston Springs. Why did demolition begin on that section?
- Who paid for the demolition?
- If the owner did not pay, will he be billed by the city?
- Apparently, orders existed to secure the building. Why were they not enforced?
More questions than answers
There are many more questions needing answers, which is why an independent inquiry is the only way to proceed.
For everything, there is a season, and everything has a life expectancy.
Yet, why do European buildings last hundreds of years? Do their governments value heritage more than our governments value it?
I have no sympathy for the building owner(s). Although everything has a life expectancy, no one expects a 70-year-old man to do what he did when he was 20. Similarly, a hotel building 130 years ago will not meet the standards of a hotel today. The owners should have known that when they made the purchase.
Everything has a purpose
If you try and use a swimming pool for a winter skating rink, won’t you just ruin the swimming pool?
That is not to say the building was without purpose. It merely needed to be repurposed. Imagine:
- Preserving the original heritage portion and moving the city archives into it.
- Remove the addition, keep the original hotel, and turn the small rooms into artisan showrooms for local artists. Small spaces where local artists could affordably display their talent and work. It could have been a tourist attraction. Re-landscape the grounds, and you would have areas where artists would love to work.
The council must support an independent public inquiry to ensure a mistake like this does not happen again.