Originally created 09/17/02

Warehouse demolition is right

I'm proud of the Augusta-Richmond County Historic Preservation Commission's decision to reverse its ruling and approve the demolition of the warehouse behind the historic Barrett Supply Building on Broad Street. It's a sound and prudent course of action given the circumstances.

It's a classic situation of where historic preservation and the need for economic development can find common ground for the overall good of the community. Now that the preservation commission has agreed to permit the demolition of the warehouse, the Azalea Development Corp. can move forward with its plans to renovate the historic Barrett Supply storefront buildings...

When the project is completed, an important historic structure will enjoy new life, Augusta's tax base will be enhanced and scores of new jobs will be created. Removing the warehouse will open up the back of the storefronts to an unobstructed view of Reynolds Street and the Savannah River (from the top floor), and allow room for 75 new parking spaces - sorely needed in the booming downtown area.

I take great comfort in the fact that Paul Simon, William S. Morris III and Will Morris IV are involved in the effort to restore the Barrett Supply Building. They have invested millions of dollars in promoting downtown Augusta's economic growth and they have been good stewards of historic preservation. Several billion dollars of economic development, enhanced tax revenue streams and new job creation has occurred, thanks to their business acumen...

Now, the preservation panel must turn its attention to a new battlefront - the effort to save two historic houses, located at 1219 and 1221 Greene Street. The owner of these two homes is appealing our decision to deny the demolitions to the Augusta Commission at its Oct. 15 meeting...

The time has come for the Augusta Commission to hire a historic preservation planner to assist the preservation commission in this effort. We must find a way to stem the tide of destruction.

Sonny Pittman, Augusta

(Editor's note: The writer is the chairman of the Augusta-Richmond County Historic Preservation Commission.)


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