City will work to preserve history of hallPublished 9:40am Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Over the past several years much discussion has taken place over the future of Memorial Hall. The city has made several attempts to reach out to those who may be interested in renovating the building but to no avail.
We have also contacted companies who may be interested in removing the debris and keeping the stone and we received the same result.
A few years ago a plan was developed to construct a park area in the event that the building had to be demolished.
Our plan, as of today and as was stated in a public meeting just last week, is to have a company remove the brick portion of the building, the inside debris and leaving the stone, arch, tower, etc. and having a small memorial pocket park. That is our intention. We do not want this historical building to be leveled and forgotten.
I realize the importance of this building but the bottom line is, the city does not have the funds to rebuild nor do we want to have the citizens fit the bill for the renovations, which would cost millions of dollars.
I think we should continue with the current plan and have potential names for the park be submitted by the citizens to remember the significance of the building.
It is a shame that the building is in such disrepair and it has been for more than 10 years. I remember walking through the building in 2008 when the roof was still on and the second floor was already collapsing and leaning to one side. It was dangerous then.
The bottom line is that we do not have the money to rebuild. Yes, we will have to borrow money to pay for the partial demolition but at least we will have something standing to remember instead of just an empty lot.
This building has so much history and we will do our best to retain what we can to have a presentable Memorial Park.
Rich Blankenship is mayor of the City of Ironton.