We have received multiple inquiries from community members regarding an upcoming hearing specific to the bathhouse in Latrobe Park. The Board discussed at length the issues surrounding the bathhouse at the meeting last evening.
As has been noted, many years ago, there was a good faith offer and attempt by developers to generously renovate the bathhouse to a usable structure. After further exploration, the renovation/restoration costs were estimated at more than $1 million, given the historic nature and existing conditions of the building, which include HAZMAT issues such as water damage, lead paint, etc. There have been additional attempts over the years to rekindle these discussions, but with a price tag at that level, the financial feasibility/support for the project has been non-existent.
Working with the City, Under Armour has offered to provide demolition services in conjunction with the construction of the lower fields and playground improvements. As a result, the City will save upwards of half a million dollars in demolition costs which will allow for the design and addition of a new structure to move forward sooner than later, pending City budget approvals. The City reached out to the LPCA to gather feedback and potential support from the community.
The City has offered to make every effort to salvage and repurpose as much usable material as is practical, given the conditions of the material and financial costs associated with remediation, transportation and storage, in order to commemorate the existence and history of the bathhouse. The City has also committed to working with the community to design the new facility and identify the best use and application for the salvaged materials. Construction of the new facility would be expected to begin in January 2015 with an estimated completion date of July 2015.
This plan is being proposed to the City’s Commission for Historic & Architectural Preservation (CHAP) hearing that will be heard on June 10 at 2:45 pm. The hearing will be held in the Phoebe Stanton Conference Room of the Department of Planning, 8th Floor, 417 E. Fayette Street. We encourage all residents who are interested to attend the hearing and voice their personal concerns and/or opinions. The board’s position on the project is:
• The bathhouse no longer functions as anything other than locked storage. It is structurally unsound and dangerous due to lack of maintenance for many decades. There is currently no financial support from the city, corporation, charitable foundations or individuals to support more than $1 million renovation/restoration effort.
• The Board will support the decision of the City’s Commission for Historic & Architectural Preservation (CHAP). We believe that having a usable structure in the park is to everyone’s benefit and if this opportunity is not addressed at this juncture, then the current structure will fall further into disrepair and pose more of a threat to public safety, than it would a symbol of the historic nature of the park.
• The Board has asked the City and will ask CHAP to make every attempt to salvage some of the materials from the bathhouse for another use on the site or elsewhere in the park. Suggestions such as pavers, planters and historical displays have been discussed and will be further discussed at the hearing. We believe that CHAP, will take the historical nature of Latrobe Park and its significance as an Olmsted design under consideration when ruling on this issue.