Thursday, July 7, 2011

A response to the "other blogger" from the "other blogger..."

The "other blogger" cites the following from RFQ for the Casino Rehabilitation project:

"The successful firm will demonstrate a clear understanding of the cultural and historical importance of the siteas well as an understanding of the importance of the site to Lake Worth Residents. The selected team will develop an innovative design that captures the renewed spirit of Lake Worth that is truly unique in the Palm Beach area."

That was from the RFQ that went out on our Casino rehabilitation.

In the RFQ it states: Debate regarding the preservation of the Casino Building versus the redevelopment of the site by commercial developers has been controversial and divisive in the community, and has been a major factor contributing to the building’s current state of disrepair. After many years of debate and dialog, the City has decided to redesign and rehabilitate the current structure.

Let's talk about what "rehabilitation" of a structure really means. Click here for a link to the Secretary of Interior Standards for Rehabilitation.  This is how "rehabilitation" is defined:

"Rehabilitation" is defined as "the process of returning a property to a state of utility, through repair or alteration, which makes possible an efficient contemporary use while preserving those portions and features of the property which are significant to its historic, architectural, and cultural values."


As stated in the definition, the treatment "rehabilitation" assumes that at least some repair or alteration of the historic building will be needed in order to provide for an efficient contemporary use; however, these repairs and alterations must not damage or destroy materials, features or finishes that are important in defining the building's historic character. For example, certain treatments--if improperly applied--may cause or accelerate physical deterioration of the historic building. This can include using improper repointing or exterior masonry cleaning techniques, or introducing insulation that damages historic fabric. In almost all of these situations, use of these materials and treatments will result in a project that does not meet the Standards. Similarly, exterior additions that duplicate the form, material, and detailing of the structure to the extent that they compromise the historic character of the structure will fail to meet the Standards.
ca 1922 column formerly part of west facade which consumed hours of Commission mtg. time.
We already know that the building has been deemed structurally unsound and that the demolition taking place now is designed to remove those deficient parts, that in the judgement of a building official, do not meet current code standards.  That, as we have seen from the demolition plans, amounts to 90 percent of the former building. BY DOING THAT WE ARE LOSING THOSE PORTIONS AND FEATURES OF THE BUILDING WHICH ARE SIGNIFICANT TO ITS HISTORIC, ARCHITECTURAL AND CULTURAL VALUES.  There is nothing of historical, architectural or cultural value that is being saved - an unadorned section of a wall is just what it is - it has no historic value.  The building that was there before the demolition started did have historic, architectural and cultural value.  What the city is getting is a NEW building which will have a vague resemblance to that which has gone before !

Thus, we are going against the stated purpose of the RFQ without any recognition of this change from our elected officials or city administration, or for that matter, the "other blogger."