The City of New Albany is the new owner of the Baptist Tabernacle building on Fourth Street.
The City, ably represented by Carl Malysz, was the successful bidder for the building in a sheriff's sale held at 10:00 AM today.
As stated earlier and shown below, I think this is an excellent move by and for the City. It may or may nor be used for the purpose I suggested, but it is now safe from potential misuse had it fallen into certain parties' hands. I am not referring to the main other bidder, a valuable and venerable local business.
There will now be ample time to consider the many possible uses for this wonderful structure.
Good job, Carl.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
Worth a Look
Anyone who has attended City Council meetings can attest to the fact that the council chamber is an inadequate venue for those meetings. The City-County Building itself is overcrowded. In order to insure the satisfactory delivery of services the public expects, it is time to look for additional space for both a meeting room, and as a means of relieving the general space constraints at the City-County Building. Some have even suggested that an entirely new government center be built.While the construction of a new government center would be a costly project, there is a more modest step which could go a long way toward solving the space problem at the City-County Building. This more modest step has the added virtues of preserving a historically significant building, while also consolidating government buildings into a campus.The Baptist Tabernacle on Fourth Street between Spring and Market Streets is currently for sale by a motivated seller. I visited with him briefly today. He said he has heard various proposals for alternate uses of the old church constructed in 1879. Most of these have been for restaurants or other entertainment uses. A better use would be as the main meeting room for official gatherings.The structure has a striking facade that would make an impressive governmental building. It has the added benefit of facing into the large parking lot of the new fire house (the fire house faces Spring Street) which would create a kind of a governmental complex. The interior of the church has been drastically altered; the old floor was removed and a new floor installed, cutting roughly in half, the air space of the church's congregational room. The installation of the new floor caused three-quarters of the window area to be bricked in. Reclaiming this building for governent use would be a strong statement in favor of historic preservation. It could also help lend support to revitalization efforts along Market and Spring streets.The most daring reclamation effort would remove the existing floor, and replace it with a floor at the original elevation. This would provide truly impressive space with a ceiling height of about 32 feet. Less daring, but perhaps more practical, would be reclamation within the current layout of the building. That scheme would provide twice the floor space with a still impressive upper floor and a ceiling height of about 16-18 feet.In either case the public would be able to attend meetings in a commodious setting. They would be able to use existing city-owned parking spaces in the lot behind the fire house. And some of the overcrowding of the City-County Building could be alleviated as the current City Council room could be converted to office space.
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