Thursday, March 30, 2017 12:19 am
Letters to the Editor 3/30/17
RIDGELY VILLAGE HALL
History is the essence of our city. So, what sense does it make to wipe out a facet of Springfield’s rich history by destroying another of our historic buildings and adding to our city’s unsightly sea of useless vacant lots?
Most who have seen the old Ridgely Village Hall and Jail at Elizabeth and Peoria Road have a false perception of this historic building because all they see are ugly walls screaming out to be torn down. But those are add-on walls built around the historic building, and my plan has always been to demolish them and only leave standing the original beautiful historic structure now hidden by the visible outer walls. Most of the building’s structural defects are in these ugly outer walls.
The original structure was built in 1885 for the Village of Ridgely, which back then was a suburb, being outside Springfield’s four “Grand Avenues” between Fifth and 15th and Ridgely and Sangamon. In addition to being a village hall and jail, it hosted dances, served as a night school “for the benefit of the boys employed in the rolling mill” (Springfield Iron Mill at 11th and Ridgely), and later was a Springfield firehouse.
Even though a judge just entered an order allowing the city to demolish this historic building, he wisely put a 45-day delay in the order. So, there is still time to rescue it from the trash heap if all the fines and fees owed on the building are paid and design plans are submitted. We already have a top quality historic architect lined up to do the plans. If you want to help save this historic building by contributing to the fund to pay the fines and fees, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 731-412-2783.
President of The Ponics Project,
A Not-for-Profit Corporation
WHAT ISM LOST
In response to “Museum comeback” (Scott Faingold, Mar. 23), I attended the (fake) hearing to “decide” whether to close the Illinois State Museum to save money. Wayne Rosenthal, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, made a brief statement at the opening of the hearing and demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge of the ISM, even the museum’s budget. He didn’t know the majority of the staff was on union contract; they were paid to sit in buildings while visitors were locked out. The ISM was an important resource for Illinois law enforcement; when human remains were found, the museum’s scientist determined whether they were human, how old they were, and even identified those remains; that scientist is gone. The Department of Transportation used scientists from the ISM to survey (as required by law), assuring no archaeological sites could block or delay construction. Most important to the once world-class science staff were the custodians, conservators, collectors and exhibitors of the history and prehistory of Illinois; they’re gone.
The Illinois State Museum had been open for nearly 140 years, and Governor Rauner trashed it. He lost half of the professional staff. It could lose its accreditation. The ISM now demands admission, contrary to its charter. There was no real savings to be had, just the stupid and vindictive destruction of a real treasure.
Bruce and his “obedient thug” Wayne are also destroying the Department of Natural Resources, which provides the state a wide range of recreational opportunities such as lakes, camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, riding trails and more.
That must be why he doesn’t do budgets; he’s too busy destroying the state.
John J. Jewett