Letters to the Editor
During the last Hollidaysburg Borough Council meeting, the board voted 5-2 to allow the demolition of a 1905 building within the heart of the historic district.
The Historical Architectural Review Board, given the responsibility of recommendations to council for the historic district, voted twice to wait until the final plans for the project were submitted to the various local government boards for approval, before considering demolition.
The First United Methodist Church of Hollidaysburg owns the property and wants to build a 24,000-square foot multipurpose recreational building and a large parking lot in the historic neighborhood.
Council agreed to the demolition before they examined the final plans for the building, the parking lot, the lighting, and entrance and exit of the lot. Without the final plans, the residents and the council cannot assess the future effects of this project upon the neighborhood.
Most of the residents of the historic district opposed the demolition, which will lead to the building of said project before the ramifications of the project are realized.
Council’s reason for agreeing to the demolition and over-ruling HARB was that the building is a safety concern due to fire damage and neglect.
The property was bought by the church about 2016. Since that time, the church has done nothing to preserve or repair the building in question.
If one buys a property in the historic district, the ordinance states that one must repair and preserve that historic property. The church claimed an exemption to repair under the Historic District Ordinance, which mandates such repairs.
It seems the building is in this state through intended neglect. Now the church and council are worried about safety. In the recent past, neither the church nor council has expressed such a concern, nor have they placed a barrier around the building with signs stating that a danger exists.
The church admitted at the council meeting that it had recently allowed children to play in the lot where the unsafe building lurks.
The church has done absolutely nothing to ensure safety, such as supports, to keep the building from falling. This appears to be neglect by design with the desired outcome being the demolition of this historic building.
Five members of council appear to approve of this possibly self-serving, unchristian maneuver.
Louis Anthony Mollica
Ironic timing on
Last week, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that opioid addiction has achieved emergency status.
I was struck by the dichotomy of, that at virtually the same time the state has legalized a use of marijuana, that some people advocate decriminalization for recreational use.