December 7, 2015
Gretchen Gaede submitted this open letter that she wrote for all Catt Co Legislators who will vote on the demolition of the Memorial Building in Little Valley, NY:
December 7, 2015
Although I live in Cleveland Ohio, I wish that all Cattaraugus County legislators be
aware that their recent decision to demolish the Civil War Monument in Little Valley is a
decision that will reverberate through communities far from your own and for a long time
to come. The momentum for saving this richly historic structure increased monthly and
the fact that it was recently listed as one of New York’s Five to Revive should not be
ignored or taken lightly. It is ironic that the town’s legislature agrees that there should
be a memorial to the over 35,000 Cattaraugus County war veterans but would tear
down the current one, dedicated in 1913, to erect some sort of symbolic afterthought in
its place. Apparently the legislators also agree that there are key structural components
that should be salvaged so why not just maintain this unique and historic structure
precisely as it was dedicated, especially when the study provided by Buffalo’s
preservation firm of Clinton Brown suggests that the cost of restoring the building for
reuse would be almost half of what County officials would have you believe.
It would seem that the legislature is not listening to the voice of the community that they have been elected to represent. The very idea that the CAMP committee was blindsided by the news that after all of its efforts to prove the value and worth of this building, it was earmarked for demolition within a closed door conference, does not reflect well on the leadership of your community.
I urge you to listen to the passionate voices of those who call upon you to preserve the
rich history that you have been entrusted with and in so doing vote AGAINST the
demolition of this Memorial. The past and future citizens of Cattaraugus County, along
with so many others watching from afar, implore you to put all politics aside and do the
right thing for those who served your county so bravely in the past, as well as current
and future generations who would have the opportunity to honor their service within this
deserving historic structure.