Our historic buildings should never be ‘in peril’

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, June 5, 2013

“We can’t more forward without honoring our past.”

These wise words were offered last week by Melissa Sanders, Troy’s planning and zoning administrator, as she talked about the “Places in Peril” designation recently given to the Troy’s Masonic Temple.

The downtown landmark, building in the early 1890s, played an important role in the early social and commercial history of the building. It has served as a meeting hall for the Masons, a grocery store, a printer’s shop, a post office, a movie theater and, now, is home to a drug store. And while the building still stands on Three Notch Street, the upper two floors are in need of restoration – a costly endeavor.

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The Masonic Temple’s fate perhaps most clearly defines why the City of Troy needs to move ahead with efforts to place the downtown commercial district on the National Register of Historic Places. Much work has been done to move towards this designation, thanks in part to state grants and surveys overseen by the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Revitalization Committee. And once the designation is in place, our downtown business district stands to benefit significantly from tax credits, grants, tax incentives and federal dollars, all of which are available to help preserve historic buildings and treasured landmarks.

Mrs. Sanders is right. We can’t move ahead without honoring, understanding and building on our past – from traditions to structures. And in Troy, it’s time we move forward by making a concerted effort to protect, restore and preserve that past for generations to come.