Historic Preservation Commission discusses Maplewood Barn reconstruction plans

Wednesday, September 22, 2010 | 8:35 p.m. CDT; updated 10:06 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 22, 2010

COLUMBIA — The Historic Preservation Commission met Wednesday afternoon at City Hall to discuss current proposals for the reconstruction of Maplewood Barn Community Theatre.

The commission decided it wanted a barn that most closely resembles the original location, size and functionality of the now ashen Maplewood Barn. Commission members said they also would like historically appropriate materials and construction types from 133 years ago.

“The city’s first priority needs to be building a 133-year-old barn and not the 37-year-old theater,” commission Chairman Brian Treece said.

The commission’s next step will be to set up a meeting with Columbia Parks and Recreation, which it hopes to schedule before the November election.

Other options developed at previous planning meetings included building a new barn on or near the original site. These plans did not appeal to the commission because they would not have replicated the historical appearance of the original barn. Commission members also stated that they had been uninvolved with previous planning meetings.

The commission originally wanted to transport another historically significant barn to where Maplewood once stood but decided that option was not feasible.

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John Schultz September 23, 2010 | 10:11 a.m.

Sounds like a commission trying to desperately be relevant.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 23, 2010 | 10:51 a.m.

The barn burned down. It was most valuable as a venue for outdoor theatre. While I believe it should not be rebuilt at this park, which is now more isolated than ever due to road changes, it should be up to the supporters of the theatre group to decide if NiFong Park or Stephens Park would best meet their needs. Likewise, the theatre group should decide whether they want a functional theatre building or a new barn which looks old and has no modern amenites.

They're the Historic Preservation Commission not the fake replica of a barn which burned down to the ground commmission. If they want to preserve something, let them put the old barn's ashes in an urn and display them in the new barn proposed by the theatre group.

(Report Comment)
Jason Entermyer September 23, 2010 | 11:23 p.m.

Agree with earlier comments. Maplewood Barn Theater should have a relica building. You can never recreate a 137 year barn. Even the construction of the Easley Store and the Collins Log Cabin was done with all modern materials, yet their construction certainly appears to mimic what these buildings looked like. Trying to relocate an old barn, just for the sake of having an old barn, means very little to the history of the Nifong family, park, Columbia and even Boone County. I'd much rather see a historic replica that can be used by the theater group and hopefully many others.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro September 24, 2010 | 4:32 p.m.

@Jason Entermeyer:
Yes, Jason. It would be nice AND appropriate to have a "Barn" in homage to the one which burned down. However, what the "Preservation" Commission proposes would alieniate the often snubbed group of seniors and disabled, their friends, their families and the health and human care service agencies which understand that reasonable accomodations of mobility issues and accessibility concerns actually enhances the quality of life for ALL of our citizens, tourists and potential new home buyers who want to use all of OUR city parks.
"They" want us to vote for a "parks' tax" and then they take away monies for the Adaptive Program, they mishandle the vintage train on public tracks, they actually give this "Preservation Group" priority over access issues by seriously considering a bumpy, dangerous brick roaded downtown and now taking ashes from a mud-proned peripheral park, (unless you consider the Crane property and Phillips Lake properties an ADA park), to build an exact replica of the shell of a Barn which burned down. (Which the Theatre Group acknowledges was a hardship for the actors/actresses, production people and attendees.)
I'd like to see a Plaque and a photo placed on that site.
A "head stone" or a shrine-like memorial in Nifong Park, if you will.
Then, build a "Theatrical Barn" at the more user-friendly, better accessible Stephens Lake Park, where seniors, children, people with mobility concerns and all of us can fully participate with friends, families and personal care attendants and our neighbors. So too, a good theatre group could include everyone in their troupe and productions, if a newer built "Barn" were ADA compliant on an ADA compliant City Park.
Is the Theatre Group at the mercy of Parks and Rec?
Is the city at the mercy of this Preservation Commission?
Or will the leaders of this town show some mercy to those who depend on the ADA for some consideration?
It's not like we're building another golf course here, ya know.

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