I'm a guy who loves tradition which includes old buildings. I love history and only wish walls could actually talk. I would love to hear what the Town Clock Church walls would have to say.
Things change, and buildings like the rest of us age ... some better than others. I am all for old buildings being rehabbed and reused. They add so much character to cities and neighborhoods.
But there comes a time when a bulldozer may be a better solution than a paint brush.
The best example of this is the house at 921 Culbertson Avenue in New Albany.
In May, Lori Brown asked the New Albany Redevelopment Commission what was the status of the house, which just happens to sit next to her home. It was abandoned and becoming a bigger problem than it already was. It looked like it was falling over, and she said rodents were seen on the property. She also said she had made improvements to her house, and didn't want to live next to such an eyesore.
I live a short distance from 921 Culbertson Avenue and yes, it has passed eyesore status. It's become a hazard. I can't imagine living next door to it as Brown does.
There have been so many good things happening in that neighborhood in the last 10 years thanks to the Neighborhood Stabilization Project where structures were built or reconstructed in the S. Ellen Jones area. One of those blighted structures sat across the street from 921 Culbertson and was torn down and replaced with a house a few years ago. The house added so much to that area of Culbertson and helped brighten up the intersection of Culbertson and 11th Street.
Unfortunately, everything that has been done is being dragged down by the house in question. It sits, rotting away, and everyone who lives near it, including me, is stuck driving past it or staring at it on a daily basis.
The house was apparently sold recently and the plan was, and maybe still is, to rehabilitate it. It's old, so of course it has some historic significance and the hope by many was to save it instead of tearing it down. Work had started, the fence was removed and it looks like the interior was gutted. I actually thought something good was happening there.
But the guts are still sitting in the backyard, and the work looks like it has stopped.
The intersection where the house is located is heavily traveled, especially during the school year since S. Ellen Jones Elementary sits across the street. It just makes everything around it look bad, and it's not what I would want to look at if I was attending or working at the school.
I applaud all of the developers in New Albany who have put so much effort and money into the downtown area, and those who have purchased old houses throughout the city and put blood, sweat and tears into those homes to bring them back to life. Great things are happening, and old buildings are being saved and reused.
But time may have ran out on 921 Culbertson Avenue. It is to the point where it poses a health hazard and just brings down the entire neighborhood. No one should be forced to live next to such a structure.
I am hoping someone proves me wrong. I didn't think the Cardinal Ritter Birthplace home on Oak Street could be saved and it was. But that was a little different story. It was an historic structure and relied on grants and donations, along with government assistance. None of those will apply here.
Looking at the house I don't know why anyone would want to put the money, time and more money into this place. Maybe I don't know enough of the significance of this little house. But I do know this, it's time has come. I am issuing a challenge here — fix it up or tear it down. It's not fair to Brown who lives next to it, or those of us who drive past it everyday to see it rot even further into decay.
I love old buildings, but not this one.