Letter: Thank goodness warehouse at Railwalk will be saved

Published 7:42 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The writer is commenting on a story in Tuesday’s Post, “County loan will speed Railwalk renovation.”

The 1920s Fisher Thompson Hardware building in question is listed as a contributing structure to the Salisbury Railroad Corridor Historic District, a National Register historic district in downtown Salisbury. There are 37 contributing structures in the district.

Would we have a Railwalk if we did not have rails and rail buildings associated with it? Of course not. So why would you ever suggest tearing down a contributing rail building associated with the rail walk? Isn’t that what makes the district? Sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

The Convention and Visitors Bureau states that “the loan is meant to expedite renovation of the structure … because it would take too long to go through the process of tearing it down.” Well, thank God for that. The CVB had no idea that the building was contributing when they purchased it. They had absolutely no intention of saving it. Now it will be saved and renovated.

Perhaps it’s time for the city to attach some strings to the 3 percent accommodations tax that it forks over to the CVB. Something like, you buy a building in a historic district, you play by the rules. Accommodations tax money can’t be used to demolish contributing structures in National Register historic districts.

And, yes, City Council can do it. The same type of requirement exists on the use of federal highway funds.

— Michael Young