As a lifelong Western New Yorker, I sometimes get the feeling there is a sector of this community that wants to save everything, remember everything and live in the past. While I don't want to come off as someone with no regard to history, preservation and our roots, it's simply not rational or economically feasible to save every structure in this area that has a page of historical significance.
As a frequent traveler of Route 5 along the Lake Erie shoreline, I pass the century-old Bethlehem Steel Administration building often. Most times I don't even notice it. It's surrounded by the decaying remnants of a historically-significant steel mill and some second-life industry that's occupying the completely industrial zone. To the north the building is bordered by the rejuvenated Buffalo waterfront and to the south by Woodlawn Beach State Park. Imagine if we could connect the two with additional public use waterfront acreage and not have to divert visitors attention as we drive them by the old steel mill and hope they won't notice what an eyesore it truly is.
I'll take the preservationists word that the building has some historical significance. So too did the churches that have been demolished and other real estate in the region that simply doesn't make geographic or economic sense to save. I'm guessing Lackawanna's future would be better bolstered by a rejuvenated waterfront industrial or recreational redo than a shell of a building that will be home to a historic marker out front.
We have a rich and treasured past here in Western New York. And we should celebrate it. But, at the same time, with limited resources we should be pretty darn choosy about what we save and spend money on to invest in the future.
With no disrespect to those who disagree and have protested at the building, my bet is that most who read this won't truly miss the building, if they even knew it was there to begin with.