SARATOGIANS LAMENT RAZING OF HISTORY

Saratoga preservationists lose fight to save 1858 building

DENNIS YUSKO STAFF WRITER BY DENNIS YUSKO STAFF WRITER
Section: Capital Region,  Page: D1

Date: Friday, May 14, 2010

SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Historic preservationists Thursday bemoaned a decision by a high-profile city couple to demolish an 1858 home that they own behind their Broadway mansion.


The brick Wayland House at 23 Greenfield Ave., owned by Ron and Michelle Riggi, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but not included in the city's protected historic district. It will be taken down in the coming week or weeks now that a city moratorium on the demolition of historic buildings expired April 30.


It's still not known what will take its place. Michelle Riggi declined comment when contacted by phone Thursday.


But members of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation said they were dismayed by the planned destruction. A worker at the site had said that the five-bedroom, three-bathroom home could come down this week, but as of Thursday afternoon, it was still standing.


"(The) demolition of 23 Greenfield Avenue is a sad day for Saratoga Springs' proud legacy of historic preservation," said Samantha Bosshart, preservation foundation executive director. "This building was in excellent condition."


The Riggis purchased the property for $1.1 million. They applied for a demolition permit last May, upsetting many city residents.


The City Council last year enacted a temporary moratorium on demolition of historic structures while reviewing the city's historic preservation ordinance and considering expansion of historic district boundaries. The moratorium expired, and a move to expand the district to protect 23 Greenfield Ave. and other structures was abandoned after failing to win support of a majority of neighbors, Bosshart said.


"It's distressing to see it lost to the wrecking ball," she said. "Hopefully, this will serve as a wake up call that preservation of our past is an ongoing effort."