New Owner of Historic School Building Speaks First to FOX54

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The debate over what should happen to East Clinton Elementary School continued Sunday, with many residents in Old Town Huntsville upset over a proposal to demolish the landmark.

For the first time, new property owner Bob Broadway sat down for an interview Sunday, speaking first with FOX 54 and clarifying his plans for the historic property.

"I would like to preserve the whole -- the feel and look of the neighborhood, and we can do that by basically emulating the type of homes that are already there," said Broadway. He said opposition from Old Town Huntsville residents over demolition of the school and construction of new single family homes, may not be necessary. He pointed out that plans for the new development on the site of the historic building would have to fit in with current neighborhood architecture, based on rules put in place by the Historic Preservation Commission. "You have to meet their guidelines that are very specific, as far as the texture of the outside of the home, windows, the color of paint you would use, the type of roofing material," Broadway went on to say.

The Broadway Group owner said the homes he plans to build on the property would blend seamlessly with the surrounding aesthetics. "Those would be homes that would emulate the style and feel of the homes that are there now -- the bungalows that are there now."

Broadway says he's looked into all options for use of the building, but zoning restrictions and the growing liability of the aging property limit the choices. "It's the condition of the building that'll make it dangerous and has made it dangerous for children in the neighborhood; and do we have to wait until somebody is really hurt, before we address it?"

Broadway will meet with the Historic Preservation Commission Monday to request a building permit that would allow demolition to begin on the property. A large turn-out of concerned neighborhood residents is expected to be at the meeting.


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