CANDIDATE FOR ST. PAUL CITY COUNCIL — WARD 2
1. How do you feel about the issue of teardowns in your Ward?
Personally, in most cases I could not tear down an existing home (If you visit billhosko.com and click on ‘Projects’ you can see where I have taken neglected properties and made them beautiful again). I am still sad about literally dozens of homes and commercials buildings that I have witnessed being demolished over the last twenty years. All of them had value. The fine yellow house on Crocus Hill that was recently demolished is another sad story. If I had been in a leadership position, I would have surely found a way to have it moved to a vacant lot, of which as we know, there are many not so far away.
2. How do you feel about the issue of teardowns in the City of St. Paul?
Surely I am the candidate with the most history in the ward who has brought attention over many years to the needless destruction of buildings and in some instances houses. Years ago, I argued for the preservation of the Armstrong/Quinlan House. I remain thankful of the efforts of others who ensured that today, it is a fine property to behold when coming into downtown from the Upper Landing riverfront area. More recently I argued for the preservation of the last remaining railroad building in what was once a major railroad yard in east Lowertown. Sadly, here too city leaders, for arguably political reasons, recently had it destroyed. Now, the West Publishing Building, larger portions of which date back to the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, is being destroyed for arguably political reasons as well. When including the needless destruction of the attached Ramsey County jail, an architectural marvel, the total demolition bill to tax payers will approach $15 million. I did indeed provide sustainable reuse plans to County and City leaders. Sadly to no avail. If am I am elected as a Citizen Leader for Ward 2 I will do all I can to ensure Saint Paul does indeed walk the walk as far as ‘sustainability’ and cherishing our architectural heritage.
3. What do you feel is the best approach to addressing and regulating teardowns?
In my opinion, unless an area is given a special status, ie Historic District’, ultimately stopping teardowns would prove legally problematic for the city (However, as a ward leader I would always, be open to being educated by others who are more expert in areas than I am). Education and the encouragement of renovation/expansion of existing properties by elected officials can go far. As I said above, Saint Paul can indeed better walk the walk as far as ‘sustainability’ and cherishing our architectural heritage. I would gladly work with others to put reasoned policies in place that would keep that mindset in place for generations to come.
4. A petition is currently circulating (see attached) which asks for a teardown moratorium in the Highland and Mac-Groveland areas to allow the development and implementation of a better city-wide approach to teardowns. Is this something you would support as a City Councilmember? Why or why not?
I would be supportive of it. To be clear, so as to better allow the various views of those who view it is a basic right as a property owner to be able to do with their property within the law as one wishes, including tearing down their home to build a new one and those who want to see a city that better encourages the renovation/expansion of existing properties instead, to be heard, considered and acted upon. Again, for a third time, Saint Paul can indeed better walk the walk as far as ‘sustainability’ and cherishing our architectural heritage. This is my hometown. It is indeed unique in many ways. I am an architectural artist who has largely devoted their career to illustrating and painting our outstanding architectural features (many of course which would not exist without past and current preservationist’s efforts). And hopefully I can do so for many years to come. I also hope to soon be in a position to bring additional attention to organizations such as yours that have thoughtful, forward thinking goals for Saint Paul. Thank you. Sincerely yours, Bill Hosko
OTHER WARD CANDIDATES