To the Editor:
Last week the Historic Preservation Commission approved a motion to remove two 1970s buildings from the 90-day delay of demolition of the historic Stanley Works complex on Myrtle Street so that demolition permits could be immediately approved. This is a step in the right direction, as those buildings should not have been included in the first place. However, there is still a lot of work to be done in an increasingly short amount of time to make sure that some measure of preservation is accomplished before the clock runs out.
In the remaining time, the commission should seek a structural assessment of the 200-ft. smokestack and cost estimate of reinforcing any weak points so that it could be painted and used as a branding opportunity for the city or Stanley itself. There are a lot of great ideas about reusing areas of the complex so it’s not completely reduced to rubble, including using the Rolling Mill for covered parking. Any proposals need to be investigated as soon as possible so that they can be approved and completed in the time that is left.
A representative for the buildings’ owner explained that once the buildings are knocked down, the bricks and mortar will be crushed and used to cover the site. If the bricks and mortar are safe enough to be left on site as a ground covering, it should be safe for the owners to keep a portion of the buildings standing. The owners are refusing to sell the property, and no one can make them, so it will be up to them to decide to keep a portion of New Britain’s history and not further contribute to the destruction of the Hardware City by erasing more of New Britain’s and their own history. Without immediate work by Historic Preservation Commission and increased public support, we will be left with nothing.
Erin E. Marceno