Time to clean up the mess

Published 8:18 am Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Petty Building once stood tall on Main Street.

Now it’s just a pile of rubble, and quite honestly a hazard and an eyesore.

We’d like to congratulate our city officials for taking steps toward beautifying downtown Greenville by demolishing buildings that are sitting empty and are beyond repair, but we’d like to see them go a step farther and remove what remains of the buildings in a timely manner.

Email newsletter signup

It’s been more than a month since a demolition crew sent the Petty Building toppling to the ground, and the old brick and wood are still piled up on the sidewalk with just a few orange barrels sectioning it off from both foot traffic and automobile traffic.

Not only is it a mess, it’s dangerous.

Last week, Mayor Dexter McLendon shared with us his vision for the area where the Petty Building once stood.

McLendon said he would like to see a park built at the site, but first the city needs to secure the rights to the building adjacent to the Petty Building, which could happen by the City Council’s July 11 meeting. According to McLendon that building also needs to be torn down due to structural issues that raise safety concerns.

Those same safety concerns are also the reason McLendon cited when asked why the rubble for the Petty Building had not been cleared away.

We don’t doubt the Mayor’s reasoning for the delay. We’d certainly hate to see anyone injured during the cleanup process, but we would encourage our officials to move swiftly to get the mess cleaned up. If that absolutely cannot happen until the building next to the Petty Building is purchased, then maybe a special called meeting is in order to take care of that business.

As for what to do with the site, we’re in favor of turning the site of the old Petty Building into a park.

We know there are those who feel the city should have done more to save these old buildings. It would certainly be nice to be able to restore all the buildings along Main Street and have them filled with thriving businesses, but right now that’s just not feasible.

In most cases, the cost of restoration outweighs the benefits at this point. That’s not to say that we support knocking down every old building downtown. We don’t, and we’d like to see some of these historic buildings renovated. But in the case of the Petty Building, we feel the city made the right call and we’re excited about the possibility of a new park in town. But before we can get to that point, we need to get the Petty Building mess cleaned up.