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Batavia committee votes against historical property upgrade

Published: Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013 6:36 a.m. CDT

BATAVIA – The Batavia City Council Community Development Committee on Wednesday rejected a recommendation from the Batavia Historic Preservation Commission to upgrade the historical classification of a building at 106 N. River St. from “contributing” to “significant.”

“I would hate for that to get in the middle of development plans in the future,” 5th Ward Alderman Lucy Thelin Atac said.

The committee’s recommendation now will go to the full City Council. Despite the objections of Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke, the Batavia Historic Preservation Commission last month decided to stick with its recommendation to upgrade the building’s classification.

Schielke contended there was no historical significance to the building other than the signs on it. Other aldermen agreed.

“I’m concerned that it will sit there and deteriorate and fall down piece by piece,” said 7th Ward Alderman Dave Brown, chairman of the Community Development Committee.

Schielke had given historic preservation commissioners a history of the building and the surrounding area, explaining how the area previously was frequented by farmers to obtain feed and farming equipment and bring milk to the nearby creamery.

He is concerned that the proposed classification of the building could hinder potential redevelopment of the property.

“That is probably a prime site for redevelopment in the near future,” Schielke had said.

Historic Preservation Commissioner Steve Vasilion told aldermen the commission’s biggest concern was making sure the building’s signs were preserved.

“I agree the building is not in great shape,” he said. “We are going to err on the side of preservation. We fully respect whatever you decide.”

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