OUR VIEW: Hurdles should be required to raze historic landmarksWe disagree with much of what is being said about City Hall and whether it should be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
Let’s start by saying upfront that we are not against razing Mitchell City Hall. We’re also not against renovating or repurposing the building.
We do tend to believe that City Hall has outlived its purpose, and that the space it currently uses could very well be put to better use.
Yet we must say we disagree with much of what is being said about City Hall and whether it should be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Here’s the background: The City Council spent time Monday arguing that there is no upside to placing City Hall on the historic places list. The worry is that if the building goes on the list, it will be more difficult to tear it down or even to renovate it — that is, if the council would ever choose either of those paths.
Some members of the council say they remember past struggles regarding historic places and local attempts to tear them down. One was the notable battle that surrounded attempts to tear down the old Notre Dame school building.
We felt that building should be demolished. When we see the beautiful new structure that was built in its place, we realize that sometimes it’s best to phase out the old to bring in the new.
But we also know that old buildings can stir great emotion in people. Perhaps, then, it’s good that the National Register of Historic Places creates a hurdle that isn’t easily overcome.
And, we must note, City Hall belongs to the entire city, and some may feel that the 1937 art deco structure should be saved. As of today, we do not feel that way, but we very much understand that some might.
If City Hall isn’t placed on the National Register of Historic Places, we won’t lose any sleep over it. If it does make the list, we’ll probably feel the same.
We do, however, believe that the historic places list has a great purpose, and it isn’t necessarily a bad thing to throw a few hurdles in the way of demolishing a historic structure.