Alexandria receives ‘Rotten Apple’ award from the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation
ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The City of Alexandria has received the inaugural “Rotten Apple” award from the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation. The recognition “recognizes an organization, person or company whose actions disregard the benefits and importance of historic preservation and threaten the cultural legacy of Louisiana.”
According to Brian Davis, the group’s executive director, in Feb. 2021, the City demolished a bungalow in the Garden District on Webster Street that was built in 1929. The Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation was working to save the house with its revolving fund program.
“The city government eliminated the position of Alexandria Historic Preservation Commission Director five years ago. Since then, it has proven to be an adversary of intelligent community planning and support its traditional neighborhoods.”
Davis said the group was given a list from the City in 2016 of properties that needed help. The group purchased the house from the current owner, put roughly $25,000 into getting the property secure, and did basic renovations. Davis said the group planned on selling the structure - noting it wasn’t supposed to be move-in ready, but ready enough that a new owner could finish it.
He said things changed in 2017.
“In June 2017, there was a hearing at the City Council where I think 144 came en masse to City Council with demolition requests from code enforcement. This was one of those 144 properties. These were vacant properties, blighted - some could have been saved. It all started going down from there,” said Davis.
Davis said the group continued to market the property to buyers, and in summer 2020, they thought they had a potential one. They ran into some hiccups with the hurricanes, but Davis said the real issue was, because the Louisiana Trust for Historic Preservation was listed as the owner during the condemnation, they couldn’t get the designation removed.
The property was knocked down in early Feb. 2021.
“I actually first found out because the neighbor next door called me and was interested in buying the lot,” said Davis. “A few weeks later we got a certified letter that the structure...we received a nice certificate of compliance from code enforcement that said basically, thank you for taking care of this issue, your compliance issue is now clear.”
Davis said the “Rotten Apple” recognition isn’t meant to take away from the good work groups like the Historical Association of Central Louisiana and Save the Dairy Barn are doing in the region. But, he said it is meant to draw attention to the need to get everyone on board with bringing about positive change to the community.
The City of Alexandria released this statement in response to the recognition:
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