I am sending the letter copied below to the Mayor and the City Council today. Landmark designation for the Burnham Residence will be voted on this Tuesday, December 5, 2017. I plan to be there.
I'm not saying this is the greatest letter....but if you don't have the time to write one yourself, please feel free to copy it. The vote is Tuesday---we need to get our letters in now. Here are the addresses...you can just copy and paste these as well:
I know many do not agree with me, but I beg you to consider that this does NOT have to be an either/or proposition. I commend the School Board for the preservation efforts they are making, but there is still time to rethink the specifics of this building. Please read my letter if you have the timel
To the Mayor and the City Council:
The will of the people does NOT mean the destruction of the Burnham Residence.
This is what the referenda stated:
Shall the Board of Education of Champaign Community Unit School District Number 4, Champaign County, Illinois, alter, repair and equip the Central High School Building, build and equip additions thereto, and acquire and improve the site thereof; improve facilities at Franklin Middle School, Spalding Park, and McKinley Field; alter, repair and equip the Centennial High School Building and build and equip additions thereto; demolish the existing Dr. Howard Elementary School Building and build and equip a new Dr. Howard Elementary School Building on that site; alter, repair and equip the South Side Elementary School Building and build and equip an addition thereto; alter, repair and equip the International Prep Academy Building and build and equip additions thereto; alter, repair and equip the Edison Middle School Building and build and equip an addition thereto; and issue bonds of said School District to the amount of $183,400,000 for the purpose of paying costs thereof?
Nowhere does it state that the Burnham Mansion must be destroyed in order for that to happen. I knew there would be property loss but it is NOT stated that the most architecturally significant buildings would be thus destroyed. Stating that the passage of the referendum is the will of the people is NOT accurate. The will of the people was to restore Central High School. That is all.
I urge you to vote for Landmark designation for the Burnham Residence. This property clearly fills all of the requirements for that status and more. CONTIGUOUS SURFACE PARKING IS NOT AN ADEQUATE REASON to NOT designate this property as a landmark. This does not have to be an either/or proposition. I support Central High School and commend the School Board and the people for committing to its preservation. This does NOT necessitate destruction of this important property. I urge you to vote for this on the basis of the Burnham Residence’s appropriateness for landmark designation as per City of Champaign legislation and Comprehensive Plan.
It would be a local, state, and national embarrassment to the City of Champaign to use such outmoded perceptions of preservation and development to destroy this building. Let’s move ahead in a positive and creative way to do the best for the City. Vote for landmark status based on whether it meets the qualifications for a landmark, not based on other discussions and plans.