Today an email from Woodstock Christian Life Services announced the following progress report regarding Grace Hall and the expanding number of duplexes on its property on Route 47, just north of Route 120, in Woodstock.
"Duplex Project Moving Ahead
"Plans for the construction of new duplexes for Hearthstone Court continue to move ahead. Final engineering and approval of the first building permit is pending. The first building permit must be approved prior to demolition on the south section of the campus."
When I read that "approval of the first building permit is pending", I contacted the City of Woodstock.
In the interest of accuracy, apparently it would have been more correct for the WCLS announcement to read that it is still working on building plans and that plans have not yet been submitted to the City. The announcement correctly states that "The first building permit must be approved prior to demolition on the south section of the campus." But the Permit is not "pending".
The first building permit has not even been applied for yet. Why would they jump the gun with an email worded this way?
Interior dismantling (demolition) apparently has already begun. No permit from the City is required for that, according to City officials. Asbestos removal or abatement was in progress just a few weeks ago.
Soon it will be time to say goodbye to Grace Hall.
Many think it is a shame that more serious consideration of adaptive re-use of Grace Hall was not made by WCLS. Prominent historic preservation public bodies were not happy with the response by WCLS officials to preservation interests that could have saved this architecturally-significant building from destruction.
The City's Motto? "True to its past...Confident of its future." Not so true, some think.