Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gone... forever

This is the sight that greeted me upon my return from a meeting in El Paso, a city that passed a $500,000,000 bond issue on the November 6th election for downtown renewal. Though it is a much larger city than Sutherland and not really comparable, I find it ironic that the two events so closely coincided with each other. While they are working hard and investing millions of dollars to save their historic infrastructure, we are cavalierly destroying ours.
This is what I saw as I left town Tuesday morning. The contractors ready to do away with a century of history - in a matter of days.
Some of you may remember that this past spring, I campaigned hard for a local-option sales tax in Sutherland, using kids and photos of our decrepit downtown (yes, I said decrepit, and I stand by that harsh statement!). The measure was defeated soundly, and I do mean SOUNDLY with more than 3-1 voting against it.
Now we're living with the result. Not to guarantee that we could have saved this building, but at least we would have had a tool to use for the financial aspects of the project.

So just what did we lose? The photos below tell the story of a once-thriving business district. Here in 1990, the year before Sutherland's centennial, the beginning of the end is near. Already the community is struggling to find a use for this building.
Here in 1949, the building housed the telephone office and the post office.
In 1925, the district was really thriving with numerous going businesses.
The earliest photo I could find in the Sutherland history book, circa about 1917. The building in the center right housed the telephone company office.
While this stately old building stood, there was still hope. Now there's none. Some would call this progress, but I'm not one of them. How much more are we going to lose before Sutherland is completely the bedroom community for North Platte that it is working so hard to become?

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