The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

October 24, 2013

Preserving the Kress facade would take too much time, money

ENID, Okla. — We’ve known the Kress Building’s days were numbered.

About a month ago, we reported the facade would be coming down. That was despite LodgeWell’s previous comments that the hotel developer wanted to preserve it.

We knew the ultimate decision would be up to the city of Enid since it was responsible for the demolition.

LodgeWell recently notified officials that the brickwork and mortar were too badly decomposed to salvage the storefront in a cost-effective and timely manner.

Were the efforts to preserve the façade oversold to the public? Truth be told, it was impossible to know the cost for such a reconstruction project months ago.

Peeling back the layers, we’ve learned that preserving the façade would be unreasonably expensive.

After Tuesday’s special meeting of the Enid City Commission, we know demolition is imminent. City officials expect LodgeWell to close on the property this month.

Some will wax nostalgic about the razed Kress building, but it’s not like any activists will be chaining themselves to the building to prevent demotion.

Sometimes, the city can’t win when moving forward. Those criticizing this development probably would have second-guessed officials actually spending money to salvage the facade (or suggest the funds would be better spent elsewhere).

Longtime Enid residents have nostalgic memories of the structure, but let’s face reality: It’s not a one-of-a-kind treasure designed by a world-famous architect. As Ward 1 Commissioner Ron Janzen said, this was a reconstructed front with nominal historic value.

What’s the silver lining? We hope some Kress elements will be incorporated into the new downtown hotel. And at least Boomer was saved. He’s been housed in an undisclosed location (a city building, to be exact), and we hope to see him again very soon.

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