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Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016 02:09 pm

To our credit

 A few further thoughts triggered by my recent column about the hoped-for restoration to health of the Ferguson Building at 6th and Monroe in downtown Springfield:

The federal taxpayer significantly subsidizes such projects, since the tax credit earned by rehabbing properties in officially designated historic districts, as this one is, reduces the flow of money to the federal treasury. Do The People get their money’s worth? I think so, but not always for reasons usually offered.

One reason is energy. Old buildings embody all the energy that went into their manufacture, including the baking of the bricks, the mining and smelting and working of the steel, the shipping of materials to the site, and so on. The energy required to build a building of same space would add pointlessly to the atmospheric burden.

Then there is aesthetics. With rare exceptions, history is not what makes these building valuable. Rather, it is their beauty, materials and workmanship, none of which developers of this day seem unable to match. Take a look at the original Ferguson Building. It is not a masterpiece, as I noted. But think of any biggish office building erected in Springfield in past 50 years. End of argument.


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