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Historic district shrinking in Wilmington

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Last week, crews tore down the former Wilmington Police Department. Now another historic downtown building will soon be history.

“We have as of 1970’s, already lost 200 houses or buildings in the old city. Here goes another one,” said Bob Jenkins of Wilmington Adventure Tours.

Some say it was built before the Civil War, while others believe it’s from the 1880s. Regardless, the building that housed Una Luna World Gallery until recently has been a part of downtown Wilmington for more than a century.

“If you polish this house with restoration, it would really pop, and I think it would be an asset,” said George Edwards of the Historic Wilmington Foundation.

Property owner Mark Evans says the building is rotting and infested with termites. He says it would cost more to restore it, then tear it down. He tried to sell it for about $750,000, but couldn’t find a buyer.

Because the building is part of the local historic district, state standards allowed the city to delay demolition for one year, but that time has expired.

Before the building gets torn down in the next couple of months, the property owner says he does plan on preserving some of what’s inside like the doors, the floors, and the fireplace that date back to the 1800s.

Evans plans to replace the building, which also once housed the restaurant A Taste of Country, with something for commercial and residential use, but some locals and visitors are not happy about it.

“If we want to see new, we can go to the suburbs, we can walk through Wal-Mart. You come to downtown of any city to see the old buildings,” said Charlotte Brummett of Geneseo, NY.

“Justify it with what you want to, money, design, character, but once it’s gone, it’s gone,” Jenkins added.

The Wilmington Historic District is having a meeting Tuesday to discuss tougher standards for demolishing historic buildings and new incentives to protect the buildings. The meeting is at the Roudabush building at Front and Dock at 6:00pm and is open to the public.

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Story summary

videoLast week, crews tore down the former Wilmington Police Department. Now another historic downtown building will soon be history.

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