I want to personally thank Pastor Randy Drish and his congregation for stepping up and saving our historic theater at 5th & Broadway. Last week many of us read the front page story about the (planned demolition of) two adjoining historic buildings to the east, 421-423 Broadway. The theater and these two wonderful buildings are in the Central Park National Historic District. They are listed in this national registry because they contribute to the historic fabric of the neighborhood and Hannibal at large.
These two buildings should not be torn down. While individual businesses, people and non-tax paying entities own the buildings downtown, the heart of our community is the downtown and as such, is owned spiritually by every citizen of Hannibal. Property rights are important in Hannibal however, when you declare you are going to tear down two very historic buildings because the floors flex or there are some masonry issues, you have described every historic house and building in Hannibal.
The Crossing has the legal right to tear these historic buildings down and build anything they want in their place. However, I would suggest they don’t have the moral right to do so.Hannibal has a treasure of historic preservation expertise. I suspect we could help them find a way to save the buildings, get the use they need and spend less money than tearing them down and building new. I would certainly volunteer to help them with this analysis as I’m sure many other building experts would as well.