More On The Main Street Building Demolition
Since writing to you last week, I have given the Main Street situation more thought. Now, I am thinking that perhaps the demolition may have been halted at the most opportune time…for the Dillon City Council, that is. If City Council has apparently paid attention to Dillon citizens’ recent reactions, then, by “tethering the wrecking ball” and allowing the asbestos dust to settle under plastic cover, they would hopefully have appeased the public. Even though DHEC initially blocked the demolition, it appears that City Council may now lay claim to having done “the right thing” for the public that elected them. Or, have they? I am beginning to wonder…
Recently, I took some time to study the results of one opinion poll conducted by The Dillon Herald. The question was, “What do you think the city should do with the donated buildings they received on Main Street which includes the old Belk building?” The results of that poll were published on the newspaper’s website on February 12, 2012. There were 323 responses. Of these, 221 (68%) voted to spend the money to renovate them; 22 (7%) voted to tear them down and put in a parking area; 13 (4%) voted to tear them down and put up a spec building; 41 (13%) voted to tear them down and leave it until an interested party buys the property and develops it; the remaining 26 (8%) of the voters did not care. It seems obvious that Dillon City Council neither remembered nor cared to consider the results of that survey, a significant but not scientific one. It seems that, even with that limited information in hand, City Council may already have boldly proceeded
with its own agenda: “pave paradise and put up a parking lot” (Joni Mitchell).
Could it be that City Council now proudly sits “in the catbird seat” and finds that position to be the most comfortable of all, only appearing to have responded to the public’s concerns? (Despite, of course, DHEC’s face-saving, powerful intervention?)
Could it be that, in an effort to appear compassionate and to “look good,” City Council members will now throw up their hands, admit an error in judgment, and say something like, “O. K. We have listened! We’ll repair the damaged, remaining wall of what was once Ivey’s Furniture, and we’ll responsibly clear the debris of the building we destroyed (the former site of M and M Beauty Supplies)”?
What on earth could be better…for City Council?! One-and-a half of the three Dilmar Buildings have now been “saved” for future development, and the space created by the demolition can now be conveniently paved to satisfy one business’s request for extra parking spaces—to supplement for those spaces that were sacrificed when Main Street was “redesigned” some years ago? What was that all about?! Today, bright banners along Main Street proclaim “Welcome.” One banner strategically hangs above a covered pile of brick, mortar, and debris. Not a welcoming sight! A recent front page photo of Mayor Davis accepting a well-deserved award for the City of Dillon reveals another banner in the background: “Cities Mean Business.” Am I missing something here?
Could it be that all of this was actually some “preconceived solution” in the back of some councilman’s mind from the very beginning of this latest “progressive project”? Think so? I wonder…I really do! Perhaps, I have grown somewhat cynical as I have grown older, or else, I have grown somewhat wiser.
Gerald M. Berry