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Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012 04:41 am

Letters to the Editor 11/08/12


Construction has already begun on part of the new Enos School, west of the current building. Developer writes that the historic building could still be saved if the new building is built on property west (right of photo) of the current construction.

Dankor Development Company is pleased with Ty Rees’ idea, for the school district to build the new Enos School on nearby contiguous lots and to preserve the present Enos School for adaptive reuse for creation of new apartments or other facilities (see “Letters,” Oct. 25). New housing would allow families with school-age children and/or medical personnel in the area to live convenient to the place they attend school or work.  Phase 1 of the new Enos School is under construction just west of the existing school.  In Phase 2, the school board plans to demolish the historic school building and complete the construction process.  However, it is not too late to save Enos School.

The accompanying $145,000 annual real estate tax income increase created (District 186’s share of total increase equaling $2.9 million over 20 years) by the preservation and conversion to new apartments/facilities on the present Enos School building property would enable District 186 to increase revenue at a time when revenues are critical to balancing the budget. The preservation also will validate the more than $700,000 in roofing, tuck-pointing, waterproofing and other improvements District 186 has spent on Enos School in the last decade, rather than throwing that money away through demolition.

Dankor presented to the board a plan of acquiring property for constructing the new school across the street to the north of the present building, on property available for acquisition from Charles Salvo. The board denied the request at a public meeting without comment and would not meet with proponents of this alternative plan. Nor would the board discuss a plan for acquiring property adjacent to and west of the existing Enos School grounds.  Nevertheless, even as construction of the new school proceeds adjacent to the old, preservation of the historic school remains possible.  

Done properly, the new Enos School can serve its students in an improved, pleasant neighborhood setting while the historic school building nearby could become an attractive home to many satisfied residents. We stand ready to assist the school board in saving the taxpayers of District  186 a minimum of $1.8 million of unneeded demolition, asbestos removal and site work expenses involved in the destruction of an historic school building.

Daniel J. Mucahy, president
Dankor Development Company

As the world is now entering into the sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation, I think it appropriate, especially in Springfield, to take some new notice of William Fleurville, known as “Billy the Barber.” In February 1952, Ebony Magazine published a report on a letter that Fleurville had written to President Lincoln expressing his enthusiasm for the Emancipation Proclamation.

My understanding is that Fleurville’s barbershop became a regular meeting place for Lincoln and his friends, that Fleurville was an immigrant from Haiti who had come to New Salem where he and Lincoln first met, that Fleurville was an enterprising businessman who developed interests in Springfield and Bloomington, that Fleurville was sometimes Lincoln’s client. There is also some public information that Fleurville was a participant in the Lincoln funeral parade.

There is a historical marker commemorating Fleurville on Adams Street, between Sixth and Seventh, on the north side of the street. In 2010, as a part of Black History Month, there were some Fleurville descendants present on a panel sponsored by the Springfield and Central Illinois African-American History Foundation.

Matthew Holden, Jr.
Wepner Distinguished Professor in Political Science
University of Illinois Springfield

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