I am a 21-year-old Historic Preservation student at University at Albany. I grew up in Bainbridge. One of the things I love about my hometown is the history that surrounds us. In fact, I hope to return to this area and work to continue to preserve this history. Therefore, it devastates me to hear that the First Baptist Church Parsonage is due for demolition soon.
The First Baptist Church in Bainbridge was built in the late 1800s. In 1900, the parish saw a need for a parsonage and one was constructed between the church and the Park Hotel on South Main Street. Unfortunately, the Park Hotel, a gorgeous and historical structure, was demolished to make way for the current structures used by Scoville-Meno.
It is of my humble opinion that if the parsonage is demolished, the citizens of the town of Bainbridge and their posterity would be robbed of the building’s historical and cultural value. Too often we forget to preserve heritage and demolish our past in the name of progress. We do this without any thought to what we have lost – we need to realize that once it is gone, it cannot be brought back.
Apart from the loss of history, in lieu of a building there will be an eternal parking lot from the main intersection in town to Scott Street – an entire block. The view from the village green will be an eyesore, with dumpsters from local businesses in full sight.
Scoville-Meno does have some alternatives to their decision to demolish. The parsonage is located within a historical district listed under the National Registry of Historic Places. This can be seen on the Registy’s website: nps.gov.
Because of the building and the neighborhood’s status, as well as the fact that Bainbridge is in a qualified Census Tract, the new owners of the parsonage would be eligible for tax incentives, credits and grants (this information can also be found on nps.gov). Apart from preserving local history, rehabilitating the parsonage could also help the local economy.
I have already sent both Mr. Jim Meno and Mr. Steve Scoville a letter addressing my concerns.
I would like to see both Scoville-Meno and the community prosper from this investment. My hope is that our town will have a better addition than another empty parking lot.