Dear friends and supporters,
I regret to inform you that the Center-Main section of the Kirkbride Building has now been so thoroughly degraded that any hope for its re-use has been lost, and there will be no adaptive re-use of the Greystone Kirkbride Building whatsoever.
And so ends our mission of advocacy.
Once its days as a hospital ended, there was a golden opportunity to bring this treasure forward into contemporary relevance, and to define a positive new role for it in our community.
Numerous examples exist of Kirkbride Buildings in other states (some of lower quality, and in far worse shape than our Greystone) that now serve as community centers, mixed use commercial/residential villages, and wildly popular tourist destinations. They were revitalized without any expenditure of taxpayer money.
But there will be no second act for our Kirkbride Building.
Nor third, nor fourth.
Greystone is public property, literally common ground. It has been an enormous presence in the community — for a long, long time. Answering the question of what to do with it is a conversation that should have taken place publicly.
All stakeholders should have had the opportunity to voice their aspirations for this public heirloom, and to voice their concerns for how different adaptive re-uses might impact the community, now and for future generations.
Unfortunately, Greystone’s fate was deliberated behind closed doors, by an insular collection of public officials who will not account for their actions in this matter.
No plausible explanation has been given for the decisions that were made. The silence of our local officials on this issue is deafening, and the story promulgated by the State — that it would cost too much to re-use the building — is nonsense.
Numerous private firms came forward with the money and expertise to put the building to good use. But the State wouldn’t talk to them.
To say that these officials failed to manage our assets wisely, or even responsibly, is an understatement. They turned down over $100 million in private investment, borrowed $50 million, and actively destroyed an irreplaceable public heirloom that was built to last forever — an irretrievable loss for this generation and countless future ones, and an affront to the generation that built it.
I heartily commend the foresight and collaborative action being taken by all those working to rescue iconic pieces of the façade. It is sincerely hoped that these will indeed comprise part of a future memorial on the site. But a memorial, no matter how important, no matter how thoughtful or beautiful, cannot mitigate this fiscal, cultural and environmental disaster.
I want to thank you all for your attention, and commend you all once again for your active participation and support for good public policy.
If you took the time to send a postcard, plant a lawn sign, attend a rally, call your legislator, or simply talked to your neighbors about Greystone, you were engaged in an important act of citizenship.
If you demanded answers, you were sending a message. No matter the outcome, these actions are vitally important to the health of our democracy. Sunshine is the best disinfectant, and an informed, engaged, and vocal citizenry is the best antidote to bad government.
President, Preserve Greystone 501c3