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Reader's view: Preservation does not trump access requirements

Contrary to the June 2 article, “In keeping with the building’s spirit,” not “everybody” is embracing Superior’s renovated Trade and Commerce Building. It is inaccessible to people with disabilities. For all the improvements touted in the article, it seems little was done for accessibility.

The claim in the story was, “We do it ourselves and we do it right.” Well it is not right. It’s not illegal. Skirting accessibility improvements by piecing together small projects is a common game played to avoid making places accessible. But it certainly isn’t right. Historical preservation is another common shield that typically does not hold water. As explained by the Wisconsin Historical Society, preservation does not trump code or access requirements.

It’s also interesting to note the owners were approved for a tax credit of about $53,000 for an approximately $215,000 project in 2010, according to state historical society architect Jen Davel.

So I won’t be buying any beer from the new Spirit Room tavern or shop at any of the businesses located there. Until the building is accessible to thousands of Twin Ports residents with mobility impairments, I will choose to spend my money at accessible locations.

Don’t get me wrong. I love beer, art, baked goods and music. It’s a popular place, and I would love to be a part of it. The advocate in me precludes it.

So, if you “do it right,” then do it.

John Nousaine


The writer is director of North Country Independent Living.