Preservation Group Makes Last Stand at The Old Elmo’s Bar Building

by Dalton Main on July 21, 2011

A small group of preservationists made a last stand today outside of the old Elmo’s Bar building on Main Street.  The building is scheduled to be torn down and as WFPL’s Dalton Main reports, owner and developer Todd Blue officially has permission to demolish it as of Thursday.

The 30-day waiting period mandated for the demolition of historical buildings has ended and members of the organization Neighborhood Planning and Preservation, Inc made a last-minute stand.

Four people held brightly colored signs that read “this building matters”.  They joked about chaining themselves to the structure, but seemed resigned to the fact that the demolition is a foregone conclusion.

As Cherise Williams puts it, the group is frustrated with what they called a lack of transparency in the city’s dealings with Blue.

“It hasn’t been that long ago that Mayor Fischer was running for office” Williams says “and part of his campaign promises were openness and transparency and we somehow missed that here.”

The destruction of this building is part of a compromise that saved the Iron Quarter buildings on Whiskey Row, which Blue also owns. But NPP member Laura Wallace maintains that the preservation of all historical buildings is vital to the heart of the city.

“We might realize all too late the importance of saving our historic buildings” says Wallace, “and then what can we do about it? Nothing.  They’re gone.”

The group particularly bemoaned Blue’s plan to replace the building with a parking lot, complaining that more spaces for cars is the last thing the city needs.

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