In 1999, the City of Greensboro adopted an “Ordinance to Prevent Demolition by Neglect”. Found under Chapter 30, Article IV, 30-4-4.2, the ordinance was adopted to protect historic properties from ‘demolition by neglect’ on the part of uncaring or unresponsive owners. The ordinance says:
….any building or structure, (e)ither designated as an Historic Landmark or found to have significance located within the Historic Overlay District shall be preserved by the owner or such other person who may have legal possession, custody, and control thereof against decay and deterioration and kept free from structural defects…”
The clear intent and directive of the ordinance is to preserve and protect Greensboro’s historic architecture. Once a neglected property is identified, the ordinance authorizes the City to undertake sufficient repairs to stabilize the building in order to prevent its ‘demolition by neglect’ and bill such repairs to the owner. If unpaid, the City is authorized to attach a lien on the property for the repairs.
If any property in Greensboro ever clearly suffered ‘demolition by neglect’ by its owners, it would be the City’s own War Memorial Stadium.
Although on the National Registry of Historic Places, WMS lies just outside the boundary of the Aycock Historic District overlay and has never been officially adopted as a county ‘Historic Landmark’. And so, due to reticence on the part of the City to become neither, WMS has never been subject to the protections afforded to structures whose property lines abut that of the Stadium. Chief among those protections is the ‘Demolition by Neglect’ ordinance
It is indefensible for the City to impose the provisions found in the Historic District Guidelines – which have undeniably stabilized, protected and improved the architecture of hundreds of Greensboro structures (including Aycock Middle School) – on others and not agree to live under its own laws for its own historic properties.
I am going to suggest during the next meeting of Greensboro’s Historic Preservation Commission that War Memorial Stadium be included in the Aycock Historic District and become officially designated as a Historic Landmark.
What’s good for the goose should be well suited for the gander.