In the Sept. 22 Durango Herald, there were remarks by local architects regarding what buildings, new and old, in town were pleasing to our eyes. Had there been more thought put into the eyesore, the 1970s baby-blue West Building on East Second Avenue, our current city planners would not have allowed that mass of concrete ugliness. Yet the four-story West Building covers a small width of the block, whereas the 185 rooms in two hotels, four to six stories high with a restaurant, recently was passed 4-1 by the town’s Planning Commission. The buildings will cover the entire 1.3 acres across from Gazpacho’s.
The residents now on East Third Avenue are treated like minorities without much say as to height restrictions on the East Second commercial blocks. Unlike poor minorities, we are regarded as the not-in-my-backyard types. An Aug. 27 Herald article, in my opinion, clearly identified the East Third Avenue residents as the rich who are due their “fall.”
As a 20-year resident on East Third Avenue, the first 10 years I worked three jobs to pay my mortgage, feed my children, etc. There are plenty of neighbors on this stretch who have worked as hard and have shown their appreciation by keeping up their yards and home restoration.
If this massive project goes through all the city hoops, which will set a new height precedent to 70 feet high, most of the lovely Victorians will be rented out because the backyards will be privacy nightmares. The few rentals now on East Third Avenue in general do not have nice yards and need fixing up. The six stories of “rise” on East Second Avenue will be the “fall” on East Third Avenue.
Please, everyone, including downtown merchants and town leaders, do anything you can to not let 15 blocks of history go down the path as just one more bad decision that could affect our unique place forever.