Wilson-Blanchard, the City of Hamilton and the citizens of Hamilton could enter a three-way partnership to finance the preservation of the King Street East facades that are threatened by demolition.
By Graham Crawford
Published July 08, 2013
As the founder and owner of Hamilton HIStory + HERitage, and the owner of the building in which H+H is located (built in 1883), I too agree that the planned demolition of 24 and 28 King Street East is a very short-sighted decision.
Fencing around 18-28 King Street East (Image Credit: Sean Burak)
David Blanchard is entitled to develop his business so that it provides a return on investment that he, and his partners, deem appropriate. Intelligent development, after all, is good for all citizens.
Having said that, Blanchard's profits do not stand alone in their importance. They stand along with the social, historical, and urban fabric of our city.
Even a city block is not an island. It is merely a piece of property in a larger, more complex, more fragile, and more vibrant whole.
May I suggest that we consider a different solution?
May I suggest that we try to put together a three-way partnership to save the two buildings?
May I suggest that we get an independent, verifiable estimate for the cost of saving the facades of the two buildings in question. And that we divide that estimate into three.
One third would be paid by Mr. Blanchard's group. One third would be paid by the City of Hamilton through its downtown grant program. One third would be raised by the citizens of Hamilton who are correct in their desire to maintain our heritage.
I would be happy to begin by pledging the first $1,000.
If the citizens fail in raising their one-third of the money, then I suppose we may need to allow things to unfold as they may. But at least we would not demolish prematurely. Not only that, but all three partners can claim honestly that they did their best to protect what we hold so dear.
For this proposal to work, we would need a commitment from all three parties. While I acknowledge it's easier to identify Mr. Blanchard and the City than it is the citizens of Hamilton who are willing to put in their money, I think the latter can, and will, be evident if this compromise and the campaign that would emerge from the agreement are publicized.
I applaud the efforts of those who are so actively engaged in this discussion. In particular, I look to our Councillors, all of them, to continue their participation in resolving this critical issue.
I look to Mr. Blanchard to demonstrate some goodwill and hold off on the demolition for at least the rest of the summer.
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