Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Jesus saves, but he doesn't preserve

Despite the happy talk about preserving the past, as the parish plans the demolition of a beautiful 120 year old building, the good folks at St. John's are destroying a landmark, which has serverd as a gateway to town on a promontory overlooking the Connecticut River (and beautiful Rte. 9) and putting up a modern two-story community center. I would love to get a look at the plans, but I'm afraid that my anticipation of what a two-story community center looks like will be exactly what I fear.

The Hartford Courant's article about a street in Great Barrington
this weekend talked about the proud tradition of construction in the late 19th century. Such was the pride that builders (we call them developers now), actually put their names in brick, terra cotta and concrete on the cornices of these buildings. We knock them down with little discretion, and pat ourselves on the back for saving windows, molding and bells. Whoopee.

Meanwhile, at a workshop meeting of the town council last evening, about a development a block away from St. Johns, the developer defended a driveway that will cross a Main Street sidewalk by saying the proposed tenant (It's Only Natural) demanded a wide view of the parking lot on Main Street. Seems it's too dangerous in the North End to park your car in a sunny lot behind the building.

But not too dangerous for a new community center.

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