Ex-YMCA building: Preservation is a noble goal, but feasibility is tricky

The clear majority of Williamsport City Council does not want the YMCA building on West Fourth Street demolished.

They spared the building’s demolition in a 5-1 vote recently.

The vote came as development plans of Herman Logue have stalled.

Logue’s business partner, Daniel A. Klingerman, has expressed a willingness to buy back the building and sell it to Councilwoman Liz Miele, a strong preservation proponent, for $1. But he also is appealing council’s demolition denial.

The building, constructed in 1922-23, is on the National Register of Historic Places and eligible for state and federal tax credits if it is rehabilitated.

We always favor preservation for buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

Within reason. Codes inspections indicate the building would require $5 million in costs to become safe and usable again. So the ledger sheet for development of the building starts there.

The future of the building has to be a winning proposition for a developer who is starting out with a $5 million bill just to make the building usable.

And the costs surely won’t end there.

Councilwoman Miele is working with various developers and is broadening the search to include contractors throughout the state.

We wish her luck in the search because we too want to see the building preserved as a viable piece of history.

But it has to be an economically viable preservation plan and development that does not burden the city’s taxpayers.

That’s the tricky part.

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