Demolition: Solution worse than the problem

The Warren Town Council faces an easy choice when it comes time to decide whether to allow a Houston, Texas company to raze an old Main Street home to make way for a parking lot — reject it and move on to issues more worthy of debate. For this request, there should be little.

Service Corporation International, the Houston, Texas company that took over the funeral home six years ago, wants to raze the building in part because parking is getting tight in the neighborhood, and officials believe the land on which the old home sits could be better served as parking. Seems a bit extreme.

One of Warren’s greatest assets is its quaint downtown, battered and bruised though she is. Underneath the vacant storefronts, the vinyl-clad homes and the under-utilized buildings is a town full of character, quirks, interesting angles and much promise. The town’s unique vibe didn’t come artificially, and it didn’t come quickly. Though the house in question isn’t the prettiest in Warren, it is an integral part of the overall fabric that makes downtown Warren a great place to live and work. It’s also part of the solution to the very problems the depressed area faces — if that character is celebrated and nurtured.

That’s why town officials put safeguards in place that require property owners in the waterfront historic district to ask for special permission when they want to demolish a structure, however humble — because all parts are equally important and the neighbors deserve a say. We have a feeling how most or all of the neighbors will respond to this request — there may indeed be traffic problems around the funeral home, particularly during busy funerals and wakes, but there are other solutions more sensible than causing permanent damage to a downtown that’s been 300 years in the making.

Reject a demolition permit for 613 Main St.

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