I, like anyone else rooting for the revitalization of Lewiston’s downtown, have been pulling my hair out upon the announcement that Central Maine Health plans to tear down St. Joseph’s Church.
Why? Well, let’s just open a textbook from “Obviously Stupid Things You Don’t Do That Will Destroy the Fabric of a City 101” and find out.
Chapter 1: Don’t destroy historic buildings. Especially when they are vital to a city’s civic and architectural heritage. That historic nature of a city is what makes it special and sets it apart from others. Not many people believe the building can’t be preserved. St. Joseph’s has been out of commission for four years, less time than it would take for me to name the wealth of historic churches that have been preserved and continue to serve their communities in many different ways.
Chapter 2: Don’t put surface parking lots in the middle of a busy economic corridor. Lewiston’s commercial future exists downtown. The potential for a pleasant, walkable district is there. Businesses see this and are excited to be a part of this revitalization. But surface parking lots in the middle of a main downtown corridor are an eyesore that discourage that progress. Parking has its place, just not there.
Epilogue: What can we do? I know the sentiment in my hometown of Lewiston is overwhelmingly negative. People value this building and have personal connections to it. They need to let CMH know their thoughts.
Residents can stop the destruction from happening.
Shane Morin, Minneapolis, Minn.