The current owner of the former Des Moines Masonic Home property has filed for a permit from the City of Des Moines to demolish all structures on the property, including the stately main building, which has reigned as the most prominent landmark on Puget Sound between Seattle and Tacoma for almost a century.
Advocates for the building’s preservation include the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, Historic Seattle, the Des Moines Historical Society and SoCoCulture. (Check out the Trust’s excellent response to the demolition proposal here.) If you, too, wish to advocate for the preservation of this building, you have until June 2, 4:30 PM, to submit a written comment to be included as part of the Environmental Impact Statement scoping process. Relevant points might include:
- the historic nature and architectural significance of the building, which is not only a significant structure in South King County, but also a unique example of this type of architecture in Washington State
- the potential for this building to serve as a museum, cultural center, or some other tourist-oriented destination (but please: no suggestions about McMenamin’s-type options – that is one possibility that has been explored extensively and rejected previously)
- the opportunities for repurposing the building as a city center or civic hub
- the opportunity for repurposing the building for some form of affordable or transitional housing
- the harmful environmental impacts of tearing down an existing building and replacing it with another (new construction is responsible for over 10% of of carbon emissions globally, rehabilitation of old properties is a much “greener” proposition)
- the negative impacts on the neighborhood, which includes an adjacent retirement/convalescent center and nearby elementary school, of traffic congestion, air pollution and noise pollution associated with demolition process and new construction
- the disruptive impact demolition of the buildings will have on remaining forested habitat and wildlife on the eastern portion of the Masonic Home property
Choose from any of the ideas above that resonate most for you and expound on them in your own words, or you may have other thoughts to share. End your letter by clearly stating your opposition to the demolition of the Des Moines Masonic Home.
You can submit your comments online: https://www.desmoineswa.gov/cms/one.aspx?pageid=18428192&portalid=17385088 or via regular mail: Attn: SEPA Official (LUA2019-0032); 21630 11th Avenue South, Suite D; Des Moines, WA 98198.
Remember, the deadline for submission is June 2, 4:30 PM, so this requires immediate attention.
And if you’d like to get involved with additional advocacy for the Des Moines Masonic Home that will be taking place down the line, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo courtesy of Washington Trust for Historic Preservation.