Hear Me Out: Is new development in Valley more important than historic preservation?

Each Sunday, ABC15.com debuts an Arizona issue - along with two opposing sides on the topic.

Don't worry, you always have the opportunity to make comments at the bottom of the page. Yeah, your opinion matters, too.

This week we're tackling the debate over the importance of preserving historic Valley landmarks, versus the need for demolition and new development.

Some say historic properties are invaluable to our local community and give us a sense of connection to Arizona's past.

Others argue new development is a necessary evil, often times brought on by the natural aging of historic properties.

Click "next page" to read the first of two positions, "  Why historic preservation is important in Valley"



"Why historic preservation is important in Valley": By Michelle Dodds, Acting Historic Preservation Officer, City of Phoenix

Why is historic preservation so important and what do historic properties mean to the community?

When I think of the importance of historic preservation and what historic properties mean to the community, I can't help but think of all the people I've met involved in historic preservation.

Those people include authors such as Robert Melikian, who wrote "Vanishing Phoenix," published by Arcadia Publishing. His book raised public awareness and appreciation for our city's history.

I think of neighborhood leaders such as Gerry and Marge McCue, whose grassroots efforts helped establish the Fairview Place Historic District and who were instrumental in the creation of "Historic Neighborhoods of Phoenix: Self-Guided Driving Tour," published by the Phoenix Historic Neighborhood Coalition.

I think of artists/businessman Michael Levine, who for more than a decade, has purchased several warehouse buildings and enable several unique businesses to thrive in downtown Phoenix.

I think of Donovan Rypkema, real estate and economic development consultant with PlaceEconomics, who speaks worldwide on the numerous economic benefits of preservation.

I think of skilled craftsmen who painstakingly restore old wood windows.

I think of preservation architects who own small businesses in our community that are often located in historic buildings.

I think of our Historic Preservation Commissioners, past and present, who have volunteered countless hours of their time promotions preservation in Phoenix.

I think of elected leaders such as Mayor Stanton, who not only made a campaign promise to identify and preserve mid-century buildings throughout Phoenix, but has already made efforts himself to do so.

Most of all, I can't help but think of the countless stewards of historic properties over the years that have preserved for all of us a sense of place, connection to our past, a reason to be proud of our city

People protect what is important to them. Historic preservation is important to a lot more people than we may realize.

Do you agree with this opinion? Add a comment below to sound off.

Click "next page" to read the second position, "Why demolition is necessary".



"Why demolition is necessary": By Representative with Phoenix-based demolition company

As a demolition company, there are times when we can look like the bad guys rolling in to level a structure, but in reality, we are just doing the job we were called on to do.

When it comes to demolition, there are a number of factors that go into deciding if a building needs to be brought down or not.

New structures are popping up all over town, but prime locations are hard to find.

Instead of building in a faraway location, architects, engineers and contractors often times look for uninhabited buildings that have no use, therefore they call on us to bring them down and make space for new development in a prime location.

When it comes to demolishing a structure, there is usually a clear indication that the building is no longer in good condition, which not only makes the surrounding area look bad, but can also be a hazard for people in it and around it.

If the cost to repair a building is more than what the actual property is worth, many times that calls for demolition.

When it comes to historic structures, the best way to prevent demolition is to take care of the property. Neglect often times results in deterioration, which can then spark officials to want the building brought down.

So overall, when it comes to demolition, often times it is very necessary not only for new development, but for the safety of people in and around the property.

Do you agree with this opinion? Add a comment below to sound off.

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