To the City of St Thomas,
We are finished with Alma.
This news brings both relief and sorrow to us. It has been a long, long journey and it is good to be done. Unfortunately, we never realized the dream of rebuilding Alma. We had great plans. We wanted to restore the building, and bring it back to its former glory. The situation came down to the fact that we could not do it. And for that, we are sorry for our part.
Alma College was a wonderful, historic building with so many fond memories. People would gather and recall beautiful periods of their lives. The stories were great to listen to.
What we did not know was that the way it had been built and having the historic specifications on it scared most of the developers away. The added environmental concerns added to the story. The need to reconstruct the façade put it into a financial burden that no one wanted to tackle.
To the people of St Thomas, we want to thank you. For the most part, you have been friendly and encouraging.
To the neighbours, thank you. Many times you called us when another wall or window was broken so we could secure it. You have been through a lot with Alma, and we hope the future of the property gives you more reason for optimism.
To the police and fire personal, you have been diligent and patient. Thank you for your concerns for the property and the people involved in it.
To the City Council we would like to express our concerns. Many times we approached you and you would not work with us. We have had developers expressing interest and you would not listen to their plans. Your demands were detrimental to the property and beyond reason.
Over the years we have received many letters and calls to board up windows, doors or walls. We were constantly securing yet another area from the damage of endless vandalism. The curious thing is we do not remember much or anything said about the people who were vandalizing the property. These kids are calling for help. What has been done for them? Is there anything built locally where they can hang out? Has there been any thought or action put towards their betterment and the potential of a hopeful future?
We pray that you will work differently with the new owner. Listen to his ideas. Work together. He has some great plans. Learn to compromise. Be honest with the situation and what can and cannot be accomplished. Do this for the people of St Thomas, for the neighbours of Alma, and for the alumnae of the college. Work together and build something that will be useful and a tribute to what was. We are sorry it isn’t us, but hope that you will listen to someone else, and create something that all can be proud to have in their city.Follow @ianscityscope