Sunday, November 11, 2007

Irreplaceable parts of Tucson destroyed

[Source: Arizona Daily Star, Opinion] -- For the second time this year, incompetence has resulted in the destruction of a piece of Tucson that cannot be replaced. This time it was a historic building. Last February, it was a stand of giant saguaros. In both cases, we've been told, the destruction was unintentional, a mistake, a glitch, a miscommunication. Outrageous nonetheless. Ignorance and insensitivity, the disengaged mind, also play a hand. At what point do we say the consequences are inexcusable? The most recent "mistake" resulted in the destruction of a historic building in Udall Park. The building was an outpost of the U.S. Magnetic Observatory, a relic of science as it was practiced in the 1920s.

A demolition crew hired by the city went to the park sometime during the last month. It was supposed to take down 10 buildings that were part of the observatory complex. Instead, the crew took down 11 buildings. Marty McCune, the city's historic preservation officer, said in a Star story on Tuesday: "It's always a loss when you lose historic resources. It was simply a miscommunication, a human mistake." In the future, maybe such errors can be avoided by wrapping some police crime scene tape around the building and planting a sign out front that says, "Do not destroy." Tucson has a reputation as a community that values its heritage and its history. We need to do more to live up to that reputation. Last February, a similar "human error" resulted in the destruction of a stand of giant saguaros for a new housing development near West Speedway and North Silverbell Road. [Note: To read the full article, click here.]