Organizers at SoCoCulture, along with the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation are advocating for the preservation of the historic Masonic Home, aka the Landmark on the Sound property that has been sold and is being prepared for demolition.
“There are many steps involved when someone wants to demolish a building of this stature, and so much depends on citizen engagement along the way,” SoCoCulture’s Barbara McMichael told The Waterland Blog.
Here’s some advice from the organizations:
- RIGHT NOW – send a message to all of your Des Moines City Councilmembers to let them know you don’t want to see this property go ([email protected]).
- COMING UP IN JANUARY – there will likely be an opportunity to present public comment specifically regarding the demolition permit – that will be an opportunity for you to testify or submit additional written comments.
“Just think of the impact if everyone who reads this … were to make themselves heard to all of the decision-makers involved.”
McMichael says that this project does have to go through SEPA review, which includes historic and cultural features – so that will be an opportunity for public comment.
The City of Des Moines ultimately gets to make the decision on what they require from the property owner in that process, but concerned citizens can tell the City to require that an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) be prepared on the grounds of the historic significance of the building and also the size of the project.
“While an EIS would not stop demolition, it could delay it (they often take many months to prepare) and would require that other alternatives be considered,” McMichael added.
“The City cannot require that one of those alternatives be selected, but they can ultimately require mitigation for the loss of the structure.”
Please email [email protected] if you have questions (SoCoCulture is a coalition of South King County cultural organizations).
“If enough Des Moines voices can speak out to City Councilmembers the demolition could be delayed,” Sen. Karen Keiser said in a Facebook post. “A solution or options should be brought to the table with the city and current owners of this Landmark on the Sound. It will need to have significant financing lined up to be heard.”