Monday, June 25, 2007

I'm Glad I'm Not in Denton Today...

..because this is the day that the historic Fry Street buildings are slated to be demolished. There was an article about it in yesterday's paper. Evidently, it's pretty difficult for local patrons and other area merchants to see the vacant hulks of buildings just sitting there. Here's the key quote, in my opinion:
"When people go to the Campus Barbershop, they're not just getting a haircut, they're visiting with their friends," [Delta Lodge founder Todd] Kaastad said. "When people went to The Tomato, it wasn't because it had the best pizza in town, it was to see their friends. You think people will ever go to a CVS [Pharmacy] for that?"
Some of the people quoted in there are saying things like "it'll be nice if we give United Equities a chance" and all that, but I'm personally not there yet. They've bungled this thing so badly from Day One that it woudn't bother me at all if the project tanked financially and eventually reverted to local ownership.

(The article has an interesting typo in it, by the way; they refer to the venerable college bookstore Voertman's as "Vermin's," which surprises me, since a Denton Record-Chronicle reporter collaborated on the story. And I also hate seeing Mike "Ski" Slusarski referred to as the "former" owner of the Tomato. It's not dead yet; it's just resting.)

For those who might still be in activist mode, there's an interesting post on the Save Fry Street website that suggests writing letters to the Denton City Council urging them to deny CVS a special-use permit for its drive-thru window, since that would detract from the "walkability" of the proposed development. And here's a quote that sums up my feelings pretty well:
We are in no way opposed to positive development that is sensitive to the culture and history of the area but cannot abide the destruction of architecturally sound buildings that are perfect candidates for adaptive reuse. United Equities was given the opportunity to have a professional preservation assessment done by the National Trust for Historic Preservation but they refused. The responsibility for the tragic and wasteful destruction of these buildings rests solely on the shoulders of United Equities.
I couldn't have said it better myself.

This will probably be one of the last Fry Street posts on this blog. I'll of course update when the Tomato finds a new place and opens there, and may have a little something when the new development opens, though I hope to avoid that for as long as possible. Even if it's cool (and remember, I'm a fan of New Urbanism), there was no reason to not incorporate the existing buildings into the new development; the out-of-towners are simply spitting on eighty years worth of history.

There's a ZZ Top song in here somewhere: A driver in Nottingham, England was stopped on suspicion of drunk driving; imagine the officers' surprise when they found out that the man was not only drunk, but blind.

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