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Historic Preservation Commission says it can't support new Maplewood barn

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 | 11:12 p.m. CDT; updated 11:30 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 8, 2010
A firefighter sprays the remains of the Maplewood Barn Community Theatre, located in Nifong Park, which burned to the ground on April 5. The historic barn was the backdrop and staging area for the community theater, which has now proposed recreating the barn with new construction.

COLUMBIA — Construction of a new barn would not be historic, the Historic Preservation Commission said at its meeting Tuesday night.

The commission reacted to two proposed options for constructing a replacement barn at the site of the Maplewood Barn Community Theatre, which burned down in April. Two options for a new barn were discussed in a different community meeting last week. 

Members of the commission said they are not eager to support either of the proposed options. They said they should continue to focus on historic structures in Columbia, rather than support the construction of new ones.

“To me there’s no charm in either of those,” commission member Patrick Earney said of the two options.

Earney, along with fellow commission members, said that it would be impossible for a new structure to replace the historic one that came before it.

While the construction of a new barn was not well received by the commission, members were not without alternative suggestions for the theater.

Commission chairman Brian Treece said that he would like for those in support of new construction "to take a step back" and consider alternative options.

Members discussed the potential of moving another historic barn from elsewhere in Boone County to the Maplewood site in Nifong Park. Earney said that a transported barn could function as a freestanding backdrop to a stage.

At the conclusion of their discussion, members agreed that construction of a new theater was one option they could not support.

“Our perspective has to be historic," said Brent Gardner, the commission's vice chairman.


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Comments

Ray Shapiro September 24, 2010 | 12:00 p.m.

“Our perspective has to be historic," said Brent Gardner, the commission's vice chairman.")
Nothing wrong with having a historic perspective as long as you're also living in the present.
As I read it, you're part of a preservation commission, not a restoration commission. Preserve what exists for historical reasons if you want, but build according to new needs and requirements which includes access for ALL Columbia citizens and potential tourists.
This commission wants to make "The District" into the red brick road and build a "shack of a barn" in muddy Nifong tucked away in a city park which has become off the beaten path due to road alterations and the Grindstone Parkway arterial road. Both new ventures would make it difficult not only for the primary participants, (cars on the bricks and the actors and actresses using a barn with no bathrooms, dressing rooms, etc.), these projects of brick roads and the recreation of an old burned barn on a mud-prone site become a safety issue, obstacle, deterrant and accessibility concern of many seniors, parents of children, students on bicycles and people who rely on assisted mobility devices to get around "The District" and our parks.
Ambiance and charm have their place, but in the case of vintage looking trains on public railways, streets and roads in "The District" and Theatre in a city park, let's not snub those who have physical disabilities and hamper their accessibility any further.

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