GUTHRIE, Okla. – Anyone who wants to rebuild the two 126-year-old downtown buildings destroyed in a fire in February has 30 days to come up with a plan, according to the City of Guthrie city council.
As the buildings’ owner, Byron Berline, works to restock the shop he’s opening across the street, the two that burned in a massive fire are still gated and crumbling. City manager Leroy Alsup said city leaders haven’t seen any effort to rebuild them.
“We’re glad that he’s still going to be here and the Double Stop Fiddle Shop’s going to be open, but it left us with some buildings to deal with,” Alsup said.
Because Oklahoma’s original capital city is now considered a historic landmark district, the buildings have to be restored and done so in a specific way, or they must be demolished completely.
“The interior can be done differently but the exterior appearance you would have to match the windows, the type of brick, and those type of things,” Alsup said. A restoration like that won’t be cheap, either. He estimates it could cost about $2 million.
City leaders want to see them rebuilt, as does Berline.
“They just have a lot of character so you don’t want to lose that if you can,” Berline said. “You can build all the new buildings you want but they don’t have the character.”
Berline said it’s not something he can accomplish, but others invested in the city’s history and the buildings have come forward to the city council saying plans are in the works. Now the city council is giving them 30 days to come up with something concrete.
“The city council will work favorably with the group as long as they can come forward with an action plan with steps, document it, and make some kind of progress,” Alsup said.
Meanwhile, Berline’s new shop isn’t open yet but the first concert is scheduled for July 27th.