One of my true loves has died, and I could not save her.
Gale Pifer reports that DeLon Mork and Randy Schaefer will demolish the old Masonic Temple in the heart of Madison sometime after September 20. They bought it in 2007 for $46,000. They were unable to find a productive use for the building. The city failed to heed lessons from elsewhere to make any offer the way it has to promote development of other downtown property. The building went unrepaired, unmaintained, unsealed, and now is unusable and unsavable. So boom, goodbye.
I suppose I'm as much to blame as anyone. I could have gotten rich as a computer security or health IT consultant or stayed a Republican so I could help Mike Rounds sell EB-5 visas, bought out DeLon and Randy, and been up on a scaffold right now putting new brick on Madison's new community cultural center and business incubator. But no, I fiddled around with low-profit activities like blogging and teaching French and thus never came up with the scratch to put my own money where my mouth is. So boom, goodbye.
I shall remember fondly the last great thing that happened on that property: M.O.B. playing rock and roll on the rooftop on a sunny summer evening during the 2010 Miracle Treat Day festivities. For one brief moment, we saw the creative, community-enhancing use to which that property could be put.
We can now only hope that once the wrecking ball clears the slate, some creative thinking will make something better of this central corner than just a bigger stretch of blacktop.