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PRESERVATIONISTS MUST LEARN TO BE MORE SELECTIVE

I sympathize with a recent writer, who put it quite bluntly: "These preservationists are keeping us in the past and depriving us of a future."

Some of us are beginning to wonder if the preservationist movement is now tinged with a heady romanticism and is beginning to show a purple vein of zealotry.

Take the Central Terminal building -- please. Ask the ordinary men and women on the streets of Buffalo whether that building should be preserved and restored at a cost of millions of dollars, and they'll tell you it is a dangerous, dirty eyesore that should be torn down.

Is this because these people lack "vision"? No, it's because they possess hard common sense and they recognize when it's time to stop beating a dead horse.

Take the Erie Canal terminus. It's difficult to know exactly what's involved here, but I think it's several dozen yards of buried walls and a few building foundations.

I've read some imaginative scenarios put forth in its favor. But I must admit I find it hard to picture a Midwesterner looking at an ad in a brochure and saying, "Hmmm, I see that Buffalo has exposed the terminus of the old Erie Canal. Let's go there on our vacation."

By all means, let us applaud the contributions that have been made (Shea's Performing Arts Center), are now being made (Darwin Martin House), and we hope will soon be made (Michigan Street Baptist Church) by the preservationists.

But there's a limited amount of money to go around for these projects. If the preservationists don't start getting more selective and temperate about preserving old things, I think more people are going to start feeling like the writer, who is "sick and tired of this area not being able to have a future, because it has a past."

DAN MATTIMORE

West Seneca

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