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home : opinions : opinions August 27, 2015

11/6/2013 9:15:00 AM
Trust Building worth saving

In response to comments about the Trust Building, we are all more of the same mind than you may realize. The value in preserving our heritage is in our commitment to insuring that the buildings worthy of saving are put into productive service. However, using economic feasibility as the primary – and often only – measure of a building's worth results in short term solutions with long term losses. Florence has enough talent and entrepreneurship to tackle this project. And it is not an either/or situation – the location of the Medical Arts College downtown is important to all of us and we've been assured that FMU is committed to being a vibrant part of the revitalization of the downtown – and that is not dependent on rigid insistence on one location. As to fear factor buzz words of asbestos, mold, etc., there is nothing in this building that hasn't been found in virtually every other building in the downtown that is being renovated successfully. I know this as a fact. Interestingly, this building has lots of amazing bright natural daylight on every floor except the first which was unfortunately closed up – and can easily be reopened – with the large windows that surrounded the base on Irby and West Evans Street and would immediately improve the streetscape. The architectural integrity of the building is impressive and clearly the work of master architect William Wilkins. Last week’s media tour of the building was intentionally focused on negatives because of an open agenda to develop the property without the complications that a historic landmark imposes. I get it. What an easy fix this would be – get rid of an abandoned eyesore and replace it with a shiny new building filled with people. I've been dedicated to the revitalization of downtown Florence for three decades, and to shrug my shoulders and say its for the best is very tempting. Except one thing – I know it's not our best, we're duplicating the same shortsighted actions of the past that can never be undone. I want to take my grandchildren up to the 7th floor of one of the first skyscrapers in the southeast with panoramic views in every direction, and fill them with stories of how their ancestors worked together to build a backwoods pine forest into an exciting place to live and call home, and how lucky they are that our leadership recognizes the value of its heritage. This historic landmark is worth saving. I hope and pray that many of you will stand with us on this. Agnes Willcox Florence








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