Sadly, Bellefonte has lost a number of its historic landmarks to tragedies, but this time we have a choice. Will we take a wrecking a ball to our historic buildings or make an effort to save them?
Many of us were under the impression that the Garman Opera House was too damaged by the Do De fire to be saved. That is not the case. The Garman can be restored and the Do De facade is also salvageable. Furthermore, there is a covenant attached to the Garman’s deed stating that if it is possible, it must be restored rather than flattened.
On Monday, Judge Thomas King Kistler will consider a proposal to demolish the Garman, the Do De and the Cadillac Building. The developer hopes to build new apartments on top of commercial space.
Meantime, the Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association has developed an alternative plan that would restore the Garman into a regional arts center for plays, concerts and meetings. They have a vision that could revitalize the downtown area and bring people and commerce to Bellefonte.
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What would you rather see on the Diamond in Bellefonte, next to our courthouse? A restored Garman or a vacant lot? A vibrant arts center or new apartments?
Hopefully we will choose to save the Garman, the Do De facade and maybe even the Cadillac Building for parking.
Let’s honor our past and preserve our architectural treasures for future generations.
Show your support for the Garman at 10 a.m. Monday at the courthouse.