Demolishing vs. Preserving Historic Structures

March 23, 2020 7:04 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

As human beings, it’s easy for us to get emotionally attached to buildings, especially those that have some historic value. It is quite common for people to work to prevent historic structure demolition in Jeffersonville, IN and beyond, and to advocate for their restoration or adaptation into other uses.

If you’re the owner of a historic property that’s in failing condition, you might have a hard time making the decision of whether to renovate or demolish it. Your decision will likely depend on factors such as the degree of significance of the building’s history, as well as its current condition.

Here are a few of the issues you should consider when deciding whether or not to demolish the building.

Advantages of demolition

There are some circumstances in which it can be an easy call to demolish a historic building due to some of the safety or health threats it poses. Major fire damage could make it impossible to properly restore the building. Asbestos exposure could also be a significant issue. Even if the building has been subject to historical preservation in the past, there are certain cases in which the city or municipality will recognize changes in condition, particularly after disasters, that mean it’s no longer worth protecting. A dangerous, decrepit property is not just hazardous to the community, but can also lower property values in the surrounding area.

If there are to be significant public benefits to clearing the land for a new purpose, that is also another reason to consider demolition. The city might be willing to grant you approval to demolish a historic building and create something new if you can demonstrate it is in the public interest to do so.

Finally, if there is a tragic or otherwise dark reason for your building’s historical significance, you may be able to convince the city its demolition could be a good thing to help the area move on from a past crisis or black mark on its reputation.

Disadvantages of demolition

There are many people who will protest historic structure demolition in Jeffersonville, IN, in some cases even declaring it to be morally wrong. If the property has already been declared historic, this means it probably has a history that can be traced back generations. Destroying that building could be removing a piece of local history that is important to the citizens of the area.

Historic properties can also often be restored for use as museums, local attractions or even brand-new businesses or homes. The rehabilitation of old, historic properties can bring new people to an area, something demolition does not offer. Once a building is destroyed, there’s no bringing it back.

Finally, the process of destroying historic buildings can be long and expensive. Not only do you need to make sure the process is performed safely and carefully so materials can be reused, but you’ll also need to be prepared to meet the inevitable resistance that comes with demolition of historic buildings.

For more information about historic structure demolition in Jeffersonville, IN, contact the team at Estes Excavating Inc. today.

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