June 15, 2012

If This Courthouse Could Speak …

Posted in Endangered buildings, Friends of Stone Bank, Photos, Updates tagged , , , , , , at 2:39 pm by stonebankblog

It would tell us that it should stand for another 100 years.

But it can’t speak for itself, so the McLean County Heritage Preservation Foundation wants to set the record straight.

Last week, the nonprofit group created and placed an ad in the local paper to dispel a persistent misconception about the  endangered 1907 courthouse.  A misconception that is further endangering  the old courthouse.

McLean County Historic Preservation ad about the 1907 courthouse which has been slated for demolition by the McLean County Commissioners.

In an email, Betty Kost, who is a member of the McLean heritage group, told the Stone Bank Blog that there is confusion about the difference between bat guano and histoplasmosis spores — and that the local news reports have said the building is contaminated, when the scientific tests show that it is not.

Here’s a quote from Betty’s email:

“After 3 years of testing was done in the newer and older portion [of the courthouse] on air, surface and guano testing, no positive tests were found until one positive histoplasmosis sample was found in an air sample, (not in bat guano), in the newer addition.  A hepa filter was used, and no more positive tests were found.”

Betty notes that histoplasmosis spores can be found anywhere — in chicken coops, barns or other places where that birds roost — and can be carried on birds’ wings, beaks and feet.  Hunters, landscapers, farmers etc. can transport the spores on their clothing or shoes, too. But bats can get it in their systems and spread it in their guano.  This does not mean that the spores found in the courthouse were brought  by bats.  The courthouse serves many hunters, landscapers, and farmers, so it easily could have come from a different source.

The point, the preservation group says, is that the courthouse is NOT contaminated. Period.

Wouldn’t it be a shame to see this lovely, historic building demolished for no good reason. It’s not a threat or a danger, so why not give this group time to create a plan for reusing it?

So, if  you can, why not send the McLean County Historic Preservation group your encouragement, your ideas and even some cash? They have a big fight on their hands to save this building. (Contact info. is in their ad.) And you can contact the county commissioners at the addresses listed in the ad, too.

And give a “like” to this post! It’s always good to know the message is getting out!

As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog!

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