We are asking the City to repair and reopen the Historic Thelma Boltin Recreation Center (new roof, fix some trusses, Repair AC, $450,000). We do not want the “Partial Restoration” (demolish all but two walls and replace with larger building, $5.6 million). We are asking them to change their prior vote from “Partial Restoration” (Demolition) to “Repair & Reopen.”
Please speak at the joint City Commission/County Commission meeting on Monday, August 28, at 3 p.m. at the Alachua County Administrative Building. The Thelma Boltin Center will be discussed along with gun violence prevention and funding for the GRACE homeless center. It now second on the agenda but could be moved up.
Return Building To Service Faster
Building will be back in service for community faster under Repair & Reopen than demolition and reconstruction under “Partial Restoration” plan
Can be used again for dances, weddings, community meetings
If demolished, would Thelma Boltin Center actually be rebuilt? Especially with looming budget problems & material shortages?
Example: House at Cofrin Nature Park demolished in 2015, intention was to replace house with purpose-built park center; 8 years later, has not been rebuilt
Authentic Historic buildings give Gainesville a sense of place
Identified by Florida Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual “11 to Save” list.
Historical Marker erected 2008
Prior City Commissions have fortunately reversed plans to demolish Historic buildings- even after demolition permits were granted – and instead saved them – e.g. Thomas Center
Financial – Cost of Various Options
$450,000 Repair & Reopen vs $5,600,000 for Demolish & Other Options
Repair & Reopen: $450,000 to replace roof, stabilize structure, repair HVAC
“Partial Restoration” (Demolish and rebuild all but two walls) – $5.6 million
Historic Preservation grants – funding available under Repair & Reopen, but may not be available if building is mostly demolished under the “Partial Restoration” plan
Maintenance needed either way – Roof, HVACs wear out and eventually must be replaced
We don’t normally demolish a building because it needs a new roof & other maintenance; if so, buildings would be demolished every 20 years; main thrust for demolition seems to be desire for new building, rather than condition of current building
If cost overruns occur, starting at $450,000 vs $5.6 million would be better.
Financial – General
City facing tight budgets in future years – reductions in future GRU general fund transfers
May need to spend WSPP money on parks-related expenses previously covered from other revenue sources
If you share our concerns, please email our city commissioners at firstname.lastname@example.org and county commissioners at email@example.com. Please ask to repair & reopen the Thelma Boltin Center. Please consider speaking at the meeting.
Betsy Maloney Hurst and Matthew Maloney Hurst, Gainesville
The opinions expressed by letter or opinion writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AlachuaChronicle.com. Letters may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org and are published at the discretion of the editor.
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