fundraisers and work days the center piece of this initiative is now gone. An arsonist set 194 East Utica on fire early this morning. In a widely circulated email this morning Rod pointed to the changed funding climate that's held up rehab plans on this part of the Queen City Farm project.
New York Times article - Vacant Properties: Scourge of a Beaten Down Buffalo, September 2007 - I suggested a new system of triage, a way of prioritizing the architecturally and historically significant structures, as everything can not be saved. This would be a first step and certainly help mitigate what's clearly a pattern of loss moving forward. After the identification of cool City-owned property is completed, mothballing is the second.
The alternative - current plan?! - remains ad hoc at best and consists of expensive emergency demolitions. Planning and strategic thinking about these places by preservation organizations and City Hall is non-strategic, ad hoc and sadly reactionary. According to City Hall, late this morning, an emergency demolition order has not been signed. It will be ordered in the next few days as this fire ravaged hulk sits directly across the street from the temporary home of City Honors High School. The demolition of 194 East Utica, planned by the City in 2006, would have cost $22k. Emergency demolitions always cost more.
The more sensible alternative, systematic and strategic identification and mothballing, could easily take advantage of these systems - Vacant Property Security - that may prevent the arsonist from entering the structure. A plan that requires everyone pushing and pulling in the same direction would preserve these sensitive structures for future use. Some very cool City-owned places such as the Woodlawn Row Houses and the Wollenberg Grain Elevator once burned are gone forever.
See - Queen City Farm video and the QCF archive for additional pics and posts.