Welcome to the Hysterical District

On Wednesday evening I attended the Nevada City planning commission’s special meeting to introduce KVMR’s bold proposal to transform the blighted tin sheds at the corner of Spring and Bridge Streets into a new home for the radio station. Having seen a few conceptual drawings of the building, I knew there would be oppsition, and I was not disappointed.

I’m a veteran of these kind of gatherings. Over the years I’ve watched many a developer get roasted at the Altar of Aesthetics. Just replacing a brick or board can bring howls of protest from the neighbors and historical purists. KVMR was asking to actually remove a tin treasure in the heart of the district, and replace it with something entirely different. They hoped to sweeten the tin pot by adding some extra feet to the truly historic Nevada Theatre, which needs the extra space to deal with the needs of a 21st century venue. (Dressing rooms and maybe a shower.)

But there is a problem. The tin sheds are an historical eyesore, and the commandments set forth in the holistorical scrolls forbids the willing destruction of any structure old enough to gather cobwebs. Never mind that they are an architectual travesty that would never be approved by anyone in the civilized world today. Never mind that the only thing that keeps them vertical is a tree.

One by one, the keepers of the gaslit torch stepped up to the microphone to voice their objections, and they did make some good points concerning the size and design of the building. (I knew they were in trouble as soon as I saw the sign, a miniature radio tower embelished with the station’s call letters. In Nevada City, the object of a sign to to not attract attention.)

So it’s back to the drawing board. Let’s hope that the project and the preservationists can find some common ground to build a foundation for the future. KVMR is a prized asset and a vital ingredient in promoting the City. And the space occupied by the useless rotting sheds is a waste of a valuable resource.

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4 Responses to Welcome to the Hysterical District

  1. Michael Anderson says:

    Yeah, those sheds are silly. Sure, that back area dates to the 1880s, but aren’t those sheds that we see now only from the 1930s? As you say, a tree holds them up. Back in the 1990s, I was involved w/ the Foothill Theatre Co. and we used those sheds to store scenery. Way back then we knew the sheds had to go…but a poorly strategized effort by Phil Sneed screwed the pooch, so there you have it.

  2. Judith Lowry says:

    Hi Bob,

    Glad to see your blog up and running.
    The radio station will sort itself out.
    I just think everyone who showed up to object to Jeff’s plan, had an idea of their own to present.
    Soooooo, whaddayathink about the ATM in the National Hotel window?

  3. Brad Croul says:

    I wonder at what point of structural artifact destruction the city could lose their designation as a historical district?
    I propose building KVMR as planned and rebuilding the historical sheds on the roof of KVMR as roof over a rooftop patio. They would be located at the same place, just up a few floors.

  4. I liked the design as presented. It would have become a refreshing and iconic sign of our times that still bridged to our past. Nothing like our courthouse and city hall, which have also become iconic. The intent of the severe preservationists today seems to be that everything new in the city should blend into invisibility.

    ‘All that’s new must be a bore,’
    quoth the Raven, ‘evermore.’

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