Scout said... (5:43 PM, February 03, 2010)
Lefty, can we talk about the need for a coherent historic preservation policy in FR?
I know that's not top of mind for everyone, given all the other challenges the city's facing ... but I'm so sad to see the wrecking ball headed for St. Louis Church.
FR has a consistent history of destroying beautiful, historic buildings and replacing them with concrete boxes. And yet I'm still somehow astounded to hear of this latest insult to the city's skyline.
Durfee Theatre: gone.
Old City Hall: gone.
Central Congregational: rotting away on Rock Street.
And now this latest casualty of an indifferent preservation policy.
Has there been any discussion locally of what's going to happen to the old Durfee building if/when its courthouse operations are moved to the new courthouse?
Again ... I know this must feel less than urgent to a lot of people. But I really feel that heritage and architecture are among FR's few remaining assets. And their destruction will have immediate effects on the people of the city (as an extension of broken window syndrome) as well as longer-term implications for economic development.
If FR can address education, crime, and its other various challenges, it will survive only if it can a) attract new industry; and/or b) become a bedroom community for folks who can't afford property closer to Boston. The city's heritage value and architectural integrity are key to both possible opportunities.
I'm not local, so I don't understand the particulars ... but I don't get how a nonprofit organization can acquire a National Register property and simply neglect it to the point that it (apparently) needs to be demolished. And no one noticed. How is that possible?
Is there anything that can be done to stem the tide of this destruction? If so, what?