Raze or preserve? Fate of old Redford library may soon be decided

The old Redford Branch library could be demolished. Via Google Maps.
The old Redford Branch library may be demolished. Via Google Maps.

Update: The board postponed the issue until April.  

Developers who are building a Meijer store on the former site of Redford High School want to demolish the old Redford Branch library that is across the street. zovirax 400mg

But preservationists hope to save the 88-year-old library on Detroit’s west side, saying the stone-faced Gothic building is historically and architecturally significant and could easily be reused. Lasix 20mg

Both sides plan to make their arguments before the Detroit Historic Designation Advisory Board at 5 p.m. Thursday on the 13th floor of the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center. The public is invited. levaquin 500mg

The board is tasked with recommending to city council whether buildings should receive historic designations, which would help prevent demolition.

Historic Detroit broke the news on its Facebook page Wednesday, drawing strong reactions.

“Oh, good grief! It’s a beautiful old building – exactly what we should NOT be demolishing,” Arlene Frank posted. “To put up what, a 7-11 or some cheaply constructed building? This is a gem and should be repurposed.”

Patrick Kelly added: “Tear down the blight and save the historic bldgs!”

Lormax Stern Detroit Development LLC wants to demolish the building for future development near Grand River and W. McNichols, across the street from where its crews are constructing the city’s second Meijer store. The company owns numerous adjacent, vacant parcels.

In 1925, the side-gabbled building was intended to serve as Redford Township’s town hall with offices, a small library, health clinic and even jail cells in the basement. But as construction began a year later, Detroit annexed a portion of the township, which included the not-yet-complete building.

In November 1927, the city opened the building as a library with large leaded-glass windows that let in plenty of natural light. But as the demand grew for more space, the library closed in 1971.

The building reopened as a museum and cultural center that focused on African American history. But in 2010, the building was purchased by Lormax Stern. The building has been vacant since.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

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