Last ditch effort to save historic downtown building from demolition

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OKLAHOMA CITY - An Oklahoma City councilman makes one last-ditch effort to save a historic downtown building from being torn down.

Earlier this month the Downtown Design Review Committee voted to tear down 9 buildings along Main and Sheridan to clear the way for a new 27 story office tower.

This week the city council will have to decide whether to have the city attorney appeal the decision to tear down the former Union Bus Station.

"We'd lose an important part of our history in one fell swoop," said David Pettyjohn with Preservation Oklahoma.

David Pettyjohn, a local preservationist, opposes the demolition plans and he's not alone.

"We're using strategies of the past that have failed us," said Oklahoma City councilman Ed Shadid.

Councilman Shadid wants the city council to have the city attorney to fight the demolition of the Union Bus Station.

That was the only building of the 9 buildings that city planners opposed tearing down.

"It shows we as citizens of Oklahoma City value our past," said Pettyjohn.

"I think the significance of the bus station is the architecture, it's very interesting," said Oklahoma City councilman Pete White.

The bus station opened in 1941.

Councilman White would love to keep the building, but doesn't agree the city should take the lead in fighting the demolition.

"I'm not sure the city should spend the money fighting an individual property owner," said White.

Appealing the demolition would also be an uphill fight.

In the past Preservation Oklahoma fought the demolition of the Stage Center in downtown and lost.

They also challenged plans by Sandridge to tear down an India Temple built in 1902 and lost.

"It's almost like we haven't seen a building yet we wouldn't rather tear down than refurbish," said White.

Developers say the station has simply outlived its useful life.

They will oppose any efforts to overturn the demolition plans.

Preservation Oklahoma also has until the end of the week to appeal the demolition of all 9 buildings.

 

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