Neighbors to the rescue

Published:

Good for the unidentified South Frankfort residents who have banded together to buy the condemned Noonan Building on Second Street to prevent the city's demolition of the building so it could be used as a parking lot for the new Public Service Building down the block.

Natalie Wilkerson, spokeswoman for the group that formed 200 Second LLC to buy and preserve the Noonan Building, told The State Journal the intent is to stabilize the century-old structure and get a roof on it. Estimates for total renovation run to $300,000.

In recognition of the 200 Second LLC initiative, the City Commission should meet and vote to rescind its decision to buy the Noonan Building. Mayor Bill May Jr. didn't sign the sales contract before 200 Second LLC reached an agreement with owner Bill Noonan. Certainly, a citizen effort to preserve one of the few remaining older structures on Second Street takes precedence over the city's need for another parking lot.

However, that doesn't erase the very real need for parking space for the Public Service Building now while it is under construction and later when it is completed and occupied. Anyone who has noticed patrol cars parked as distant as two blocks from Police Headquarters understands the problem.

Indeed, the lack of adequate parking was the strongest argument against locating the Public Service Building where it is being constructed. But May insisted it be downtown and so it is.

In the meantime, we commend strongly the initiative taken by the supporters of 200 Second LLC, and we wish them good luck in their effort to save the building. It won't be easy or inexpensive, but the effort will serve as an example the next time an old building faces demolition because no one at City Hall thought about providing adequate parking for a new city office building.

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