To the editor:
Logan's Historical Preservation Committee recently met regarding the tearing down of the Emporium and Plaza 45. Near to 50 people voiced their differing opinions. The city is planning to spend $28 million that will mainly go into apartment construction. The committee temporarily tabled the motion till a final plan can be seen. The city has wanted to place 136 apartments right on top of the existing parking space. To compensate for the loss of parking, a three-story terrace parking was envisioned.
Opposition to the plan caused the city to go to a second plan in September and a third plan now due in December. Mayor Daines is rushing through the problematic plan that would tear down the buildings. The tear-down is opposed by many. The plan changes detrimentally the ease of parking, car-
to-store accessibility, that has characterized parking in Logan's downtown since its parking renovation in 1968.
The city is now claiming that the buildings are structurally unsound. This is a much different story than when Mayor Daines wanted to put the Logan Library into the Emporium, a short two years ago. A structural engineer needs to be hired and a contractor's bid made before preservation is pronounced impossible.
Several potential buyers of the Emporium feel confident that the buildings can be restored. They feel the city unwisely overpaid for the buildings and will be losing $2 million on the purchase plus another $1.4 million on the demolition. The mayor said she would not sell the property, but would have the city in control.
Mayor Daines has been unwilling to talk about another plan that has been developed that would preserve the buildings and the parking integrity for the downtown. Currently, there are 246 parking stalls in the downtown. This plan would preserve 242 parking stalls out of the present 246 stalls. To make room for 105 apartments, this other plan would tear down buildings on 1st North. It would cash out building owners and displaced tenants would be fitted into the Emporium and Plaza 45 buildings.
A major reason for tearing down the buildings is to place an ice skating rink and a performance stage alongside Main Street. The 70 building and property owners of downtown Logan take their businesses seriously and many do not want the buildings down, but would see the 60,000 square foot Emporium complex used to energize the downtown.
Preservation History Committee, please insist that the city make a plan that preserves parking and the architectural integrity of the downtown. Or, give it to the three potential buyers that are lined up to do so. With nearly 200 apartments already approved, at 100 East 150 South and 100 West 100 South, to come into the downtown, does there really need be more apartments on top of the existing and still now preserved downtown? Wouldn't the city be best advised to get out of the business marketplace?
Gene Needham III