Victory for the People: People's Bank

A unique and innovative preservation measure has resulted in the donation of $50,000 toward the preservation and relocation of the circa 1962 Peoples Bank in downtown Lexington.

The deal is a multi-party, multi-site deal that shows how complex preserving history can be. A lot of people and parties deserve credit for the cooperation in this arrangement. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office, LFUCG Division of Historic Preservation, Ms. Linda Carroll, and the BGT all had a hand to play in a memorandum of agreement that was finalized earlier this week.

So what's the deal?

Fritz Farm

At the intersection of Nicholasville Road and Man O'War lies a 60 acre tract of farmland. This tract rests within the Urban Service Boundary and is the subject of the anticipated Summit shopping center With TIF funds and some federal money implicated, the National Preservation Act of 1966 came into play. Section 106 of that Act requires that a study of how historical resources might be impacted by the use of federal funds or issuing of a federal permit (that's how the Army Corps of Engineers is involved). Suffice it to say, there was going to be some impact at Fritz Farm.

Through the $50,000 donation (earmarked toward preserving Peoples Bank), an on-site educational display and a pre-development recordation of the south Fayette farmland's history, developers of The Summit (PDF link to site plan) are able to mitigate the historic losses resulting from the development.

Although I have some reservations, mostly traffic related, about another shopping development along Nicholasville Road, I know that development within the Urban Service Boundary is far preferable to expanding the city limits.

This kind of arrangement could be a model for future historic preservation efforts.

Peoples Bank

People for the Peoples
The victor of this really is the People. And the Peoples. And the People for the Peoples.

The midcentury modern bank on South Broadway, with its blue tile and sawtooth, zigzag roof line, is an iconic piece of Lexington architecture. Plans for a downtown multiplex movie theatre would require the demolition of the historic midcentury bank so that the parking garage's ingress/egress could be modified to a side entrance rather than creating traffic issues directly on the highway.

A community-wide effort to save the Peoples Bank, relocate her, and convert her into the Peoples Portal (a non-profit community center) are underway. Though once on the brink of demolition,  matching grant from the Warwick Foundation, budgeted city funds, and agreement by the developer to donate the building if it is moved have kept the wrecking ball away. It can only presume that these multilateral talks have further worked to keep the property owner from pulling the trigger on demolition but to instead allow preservation to have a full opportunity.

The grant from the Warwick Foundation requires matching funds from the community of $250,000. Of that total and inclusive of the $50,000 mentioned above, approximately $140,000 has been raised. You can help bridge the gap and save this iconic landmark by clicking here.

Though this news is terrific, the fight to save the Peoples Bank is not over. As noted above, your help is still needed. As such, the property remains on our #DemolitionWatch.


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