What about YMCA building, others?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 10, 2007

To the Editor:

Why is the historic old YMCA building on Broad Street across from City Hall, and other older buildings downtown, being allowed to just crumble away?

It looks to me like a clear case of “demolition by neglect.”

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Often this is to clear the way (literally) for owners to use the excuse of “beyond renovation” to tear a building down and put the property to another use, which might or might not be a good thing for that space and for the overall “look” of our downtown.

This is outrageous and should not be allowed. Surely building owners who create these situations, whatever their motives, should be subject to penalties of some kind.

Perhaps, as do some municipalities, a healthy fine for each day that the buildings are being allowed to crumble away?

This would at least motivate them to find a buyer willing to rescue the buildings.

Perhaps this is already on the books? Is it enforced? Perhaps it’s also time that we tried introducing the New Orleans’s “French Quarter” preservation idea of using the “tout ensemble” approach to approving use of buildings and spaces?

Not that it gets enforced all the time around there, but, with proper oversight, it could work to our downtown’s advantage in controlling rampant destruction and the defacement of an historic district.

Nancy Lea