Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Latest Heritage Preservation Efforts Stalled

Fairhope, Alabama


After some limited progress last year to update the list of historic properties and establish bylaws for the Historic Committee, the next step to preserve the city's historic structures by setting up a Historic Commission has stalled at the city council level.

The council has had legislation developed by the Committee based on preservation efforts already in place elsewhere in the state (Mobile, Foley and Magnolia Springs, etc) for several months -- but failed to act to establish a commission that would allow owners to apply for more grants and tax breaks for preserving and restoring their homes and buildings.

Although the current owners once expressed a desire to save it, even the 118 Magnolia Ave. home of the city's main founder, E. B. Gaston, in the Bayfront Historic District appears to be wasting away due to neglect.

Considerable enthusiasm by the mayor and council three years ago to use the K-1 school on Church St. as a performing arts center lost steam as well (click) while school system politics/finances are endlessly debated and the building deteriorates.
K - 1 school

Even though the city's Comprehensive Growth and Alabama Communities of Excellence program plans cite preservation as an important long term component for the community's health, since this is a municipal election year nothing more is likely to be accomplished.

There has always been considerable opposition, especially from the powerful Realty/Developer business community interests.

(Besides the Historic, several other city committees are discouraged by the lack of progress on their initiatives, including Recycling, Environmental, Harbor, and Pedestrian.)

E. B. Gaston house

Gaston house


Anonymous said...

Mr. Gaston would of wanted it torn down and replaced with something of more value so the STCorp. could collect a higher rent on it ....

Pauline said...

FSTC charges its "single tax" on land only. The lease agreement says all rents go to benefit lessees. Don't know what Gaston would have thought about it being torn down.