Letter: What does the city want in its historic district?

To the Editor:

I would like to ask the Planning Commission what they want out of the homeowners in the core historic district designation. Do you want our old homes in this area to be torn down for businesses, green space or parking lots? If you look at the historic district boundaries, there are not many homes left. The district consists mostly of a hodgepodge of office buildings, lots, mixed architecture, etc.

126 South Cherry is/was a beautiful home. First United Methodist Church bought the home several years ago and has been allowed to let it deteriorate without consequence. What does the city want within the parameters it calls the historic district? Just sacred ground or do you want us to continue to pour our own money into these decaying structures of the past? Do you want to show them off as “your history” or do you want them razed? The church says that 126 S. Cherry is not (inhabitable) due to lead paint, knob and tube wiring and non-regulation construction. I would dare to take a bet that the same conditions apply to the majority of remaining structures in the district!

My late husband and I purchased our property at 122 W. Franklin (historic district) in 1993.

We briefly attempted to sell our property many years ago and the church made a low offer on it. A member of the church let us know they wanted our property for parking — it would be torn down. The neighborhood is aware that the church desires to own all adjoining property in this block. Upon hearing of their plans, we politely declined their offer.

What does the city want in its historic district? Old homes to tell stories about our past or green space and parking lots?

Debbie Wollam