Editorial: "Looking Forward & Protecting the Past"

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - What was the old Pan-Am gas station at the corner of Bibb and Coosa is now no longer.  Last weekend that landmark was demolished with nothing remaining where it once stood other than the outline of a foundation.

What is left is a lot of questions, finger pointing and very frustrated local historical preservationists. In the name of progress and safety there will be times buildings such as this will need to come down. But that should only be after due process has run its course.

Here's an absolute; once a historical building comes down, that's it.  The history of that building comes to an immediate and forever end.  Even more the reason that city leaders must ensure and enforce the processes for all that apply and conduct demolition or rehabilitation of any historic structure in downtown Montgomery.

These buildings and the history they preserve and the character they bring to our downtown must be treated as treasured assets.  A recommendation, increase the fine. The current $500 penalty is a mere pittance, an amount so low that a developer could consider a small cost of doing business.

Therefore we demand people are held accountable so that there is never another "Pan-Am" in downtown Montgomery. Increasing the fine would not help in this case, but it might in future cases.

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