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||New York, NY
|7008 and 7016 Zimpel Street
||As a Tulane University Law School alumnus, I object to Tulane's attempt at additional, needless demolition of historic properties in the campus setting.
While on campus, I witnessed and objected to the demolition of the Old Anthropology building. It was demolished to make way for...nothing. And that parcel's proximity to these parcels leads one to suspect that there is an overarching campaign underway to clear multiple lots for construction of a larger university building at some point in the future. This degradation of the overall historic block threatens further adverse effects to the other contributing properties listed in the notice as being within the APE (especially those on Zimpel and Audubon).
Here, too, there is no plan for redevelopment for these two properties, which is irresponsible. Certainly the demolition could be limited to 7008, sparing 7016 (which is a great, characteristically New Orleans raised basement structure) - such a result would at least indicate that FEMA was serious about mitigating under Section 106. As a university, Tulane should seek a creative means of effecting the repairs to Howard-Tilton without destroying the bits of neighborhood-type fabric that impart a sense of being in New Orleans to the campus environment. It's the lack of solutions-minded ingenuity and stewardship on display from an academic institution that's disturbing here, as it was with Old Anthropology, with Tulane's silent involvement in the LSU/VA debacle, and in its overt arrogance toward its neighborhood in the current stadium flap.
Section 106 may be limited in its ability to stop destruction of historic resources. But when the effects on resources are "taken into account" in this instance, FEMA needs to question the underlying premise that both properties NEED to be demolished to facilitate the roof improvements. Is this actual necessity or is it pretext?
As far as alternatives are concerned, the crane and staging area should be set up in the pedestrian mall/cul de sac of Zimple if at all possible. Has this alternative been considered? If not, why not? Would it be less expensive than demolition of the two houses? Blocking off Zimple from Audubon to the Newcomb Mall temporarily would not overly burdensome to vehicular traffic or foot traffic (especially if a small pedestrian cut-thru could be retained).