Robert D. Howell, long-time PA member, dies at age 92

Robert D. Howell, 92, long-time member and friend of Preservation-Alliance, died at home Tuesday, April 30, 2013. Bob and his wife Dorothy (Dot), who had been a member of the PA board in the 1990s, took on direct involvement in historic preservation in 1980, when they renovated a Queen Anne house in what would later become the J.Z. Moore National Register Historic District. We will miss Bob's kind personality and extend our condolences to Dot and family and friends. Read an article about the J.Z. Moore District by Dot Howell in the fall 1996 issue of PA Update... http://paupdate.org/archive/PA_Update_1996-09.pdf

For funeral arrangements, visit www.glennfuneralhome.com.


PA Email List | 2013-01-25 | OPS plan for Texas Gas building appears to be demolition

Yesterday, at its working luncheon, the Owensboro Public Schools board revealed more information regarding its vision for the Texas Gas property.  And, that vision seems aimed at demolition of the iconic building, which was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and built 50 years ago during the height of the modern architecture movement in America.

Texas Gas building - Skidmore, Owings & Merrell, 1962

In an article in today's Messenger-Inquirer about the OPS's submission of its facilities plan for state review and approval, Megan Harris reported... Architect Craig Thomas of RBS Design Group resubmitted the district facilities plan — slated to include converting the iconic home of Texas Gas into a 6-7-8 Center....
The deed requires that OPS use the property for educational purposes for its first 10 years of ownership. Riverfront Jam has a first right of refusal for an additional 30 years, during which the corporation may buy back the property before OPS can take public bids to sell it.  
"If they put it on the market," Vick said, "I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they brought in between $4 million and $7 million in revenue. I don't foresee it ever being for sale — we'll never get 30 acres in this district again — but if enrollment declines, and they really believe they'll never use it, students would benefit to the tune of, say, $7 million." 
At a board of education luncheon Tuesday, board members debated listing Texas Gas for demolition in the final plan they submit to the state later this year. Clearing the property for new construction could increase state-provided construction dollars in the form of unmet need.  [Emphasis added] 
Board chairwoman Nancy Eskridge, on telling Owensboro residents they plan to demolish Texas Gas, said Tuesday, "Yeah, that would go over like a ton of bricks, literally." 
If the cost to renovate Texas Gas is more than 75 percent of the state's baseline estimate for new construction, including the cost of demolition, the KDE would not approve the renovation, Vick said.
It seems obvious that OPS's plan is to demolish the building and deflect any community criticism by blaming it on the Kentucky Department of Education's denial of renovation costs.  OPS is yet to publicize those projected costs.  A question comes to mind: Would the state endorse a renovation plan in which OPS invested a greater proportion of funds than the minimum, perhaps supported by grants or other local investments?  If not, then the Kentucky Department of Education certainly should share in the blame. 

However, if the building is demolished, the main blame must go to OPS and its irresponsibility in taking charge of an important community building that it has neither the intention nor capacity to maintain.

We always find out about the details of these adventures that result in demolition of our community's historic buildings long after decisions are made that are unstoppable.

It appears that it is decided.  We can look forward to a future 6-7-8 pole-barn or Dryvit-elaborated office/retail complex where once stood a building of important design quality.


Saving Places 101: How College Students Are Preserving Historic Indiana Neighborhoods

Saving Places 101: How College Students Are Preserving Historic Indiana Neighborhoods

Chris Flook, a professor of telecommunications at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, involved four professors and nearly 70 students in a university-funded project designed to document the significant buildings in 12 historic districts -- and to make the information attractive and accessible on the web. Very inspiring! Read about the project and navigate to the Muncie websites via  the links in the National Trust's blog post here.


Legal Notice - Demolition of Old National Guard Armory - Bid #2871


(Legal Notice published in Messenger-Inquirer, Sunday, July 15, 2012)

The City of Owensboro is seeking a reputable contractor to abate and demolish the former National Guard Center located at 1501 West Parrish Avenue, Owensboro, KY 42301.

A pre-bid meeting is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. prevailing local time on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 at the Public Works Office, 1410 W. 5th St., Owensboro, KY 42301.

Specifications for the above are on file and may be obtained from Pamela Canary, Purchasing Agent, City Hall, 101 E 4th Street, Room 119, Owensboro, KY 42303. Telephone (270) 687-8431. Bids must be delivered to the Purchasing Department on or before 3:00 P.M. prevailing local time on Thursday, August 2, 2012. The City of Owensboro reserves the right to reject any and all proposals and to waive any irregularities in said proposals.

Pamela Canary
Purchasing Agent


PA Email List | 2012-07-12 | Historic Preservation Board supports preserving Old Armory facade

The following is an excerpt from Keith Lawrence's article in today's Messenger-Inquirer...

Support for armory facade growing

By Keith Lawrence, Messenger-Inquirer | Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012, 12:00 am

The Preservation Alliance of Owensboro-Daviess County picked up a new ally Wednesday in its efforts to save at least part of the old Kentucky National Guard Armory on Parrish Avenue.

Although no vote was taken, members of the Owensboro Historic Preservation Board went on record saying they would like to save the facade and see maybe the first 20 feet of the building incorporated into the design for the new $1 million indoor tennis center planned for the site.

"I would be in full support of preserving the facade, but it will take the support of the (Owensboro-Daviess County) Tennis Association," Larry Conder, a board member, said during the Preservation Board's meeting.

Terry Woodward, another board member, offered to talk with leaders of the tennis association to try to gain their support.

"It may help them raise money," he said. "We've torn down enough old buildings in Owensboro. I know we can't save the whole (armory) building. But we should try to save the facade."

Gary Adams, secretary-treasurer of Preservation Alliance, had asked the board to look at the plans for the tennis center and see if the facade of the building could be incorporated.

Preservation Alliance has been fighting for years to save the 64-year-old building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A new armory opened at Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport earlier this year, and the city plans to raze the old building.

The city and the Regional Water Resource Agency are planning to build a storm-water detention basin west of the old armory. That project could take part of the front of the building, Keith Free, a board member, said during the meeting.

But Ted Lolley, board chairman, said, "I would like to see them build an underground water storage basin and create tennis space over it."

Nathan Nunley, the city's downtown design administrator, said the new Boardwalk Pipeline Partners building at 601 W. Second St. will have an underground storm-water storage basin.

Adams said the city has earmarked $300,000 for demolition of the old armory.

Lolley said he doubted that the work would cost more than $100,000. Maybe, he suggested, the rest could be used to save the facade.

Keith Lawrence, 691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

Gary A. Adams, AICP
Preservation Alliance
of Owensboro-Daviess County, Inc.



PA Email List | 2012-06-27 | Old Armory to be demolished

It is official. The Old Armory will be demolished utilizing $300,000 the city has budgeted for that contingency. The city received only two responses to its Request For Proposals issued mid-May. The historic modern-style armory building is planned to be replaced by a $1-million "pre-engineered metal building" with four indoor tennis courts. A 1.2-acre reservation will provide space for a storm water detention basin to be installed at a date yet to be determined.
Here is a link to information about the Old Armory: http://paupdate.org/topics/index.htm#Armory
Below are excerpts from Steve Vied's article in today's Messenger-Inquirer, with emphasis added...
Commission accepts indoor tennis idea; Armory to be demolished
By Steve Vied Messenger-Inquirer | Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 12:00 am

The former National Guard Armory on Parrish Avenue will be torn down and a $1 million indoor tennis center is planned for the site, based on a consensus reached Tuesday by the Owensboro City Commission.

During a work session at City Hall, the commission accepted a proposal made by the Owensboro-Daviess County Tennis Association that calls for the association to raise $500,000 in the next six months to pay for half the cost of a four- to six-court tennis facility, with the city paying the other half. In accepting the tennis association's proposal, the commission rejected a request by the Elizabeth Munday Senior Center to reserve the land for a new senior center.
But the commission also agreed to find another location for a senior center.

At one point in Tuesday's discussion, Mayor Ron Payne proposed that a decision on a use of the land be postponed until after the armory building is torn down. But Phil Clark of the tennis association said the group needed a commitment on a site to help it raise money.

The Munday center wants the property used as the home of a new $10 million, 60,000-square-foot senior citizens center. Both proposals involve tearing down the armory to make way for the new projects.

Before the meeting, Payne said he was leaning toward a tennis center. Tony Cecil, the city's operations manager, said a committee gave a higher score to the tennis center proposal. But neither group has the money in hand to complete their proposals.

"Moreland Park is the appropriate site for tennis, but we have a need to accommodate seniors," Payne said. "I don't know if English Park has been mentioned (as a site for a senior center), but it is a beautiful site."

First Cecil and then Clark of the tennis association said the ability of the group to raise money for a tennis center depends heavily on a commitment by the city to provide the armory site, which is a few hundred yards from the city's 12-court outdoor tennis facility, which is due to be updated later this year.

Clark said without a site commitment, raising money will be difficult. With a site commitment, the group is agreeing to raise the money within six months, he said.

After more discussion, Payne proposed that the City Commission grant the tennis association the right to build on the site, contingent on the association raising $500,000, with the city matching that amount. "That's our intent," Clark said.

Payne's proposal was also to give the city staff the go-ahead to tear the old armory building down, which was agreed to by the rest of the commission. City Attorney Ed Ray said a formal vote on the entire matter will come later.

Tom Vittitow, Munday center director, answered yes when asked by Payne if he would agree with the armory site being used for a tennis facility, as long as the city finds another site for a senior center. "Yes, but our concern is the site," he said.

Cecil said the tennis association's proposal asked for land and a $500,000 matching grant to build a pre-engineered metal building about 300 feet by 142 feet, with four courts but expandable to six courts.

A lot of work will have to be done to determine how the building will be designed and maintained and what access the public will have to the courts, Cecil said.

Whatever is built on the armory site, room must be left for a 1.2-acre storm-water detention basin to help alleviate heavy street flooding in the area following downpours.


Bates Building architectural glory reappears!

The Bates Building (Owensboro Savings Bank & Trust), erected and expanded 1883-1905, is located in the heart of Downtown Owensboro's commercial historic district at 101 W 2nd Street. Terry Woodward, who has rehabilitated several downtown historic buildings, has set his sights on returning this key landmark to its architectural glory...