Saving Keller Building will take more than good intentions

So the Keller Building is going to get a reprieve. The Old House Guild wants the dilapidated factory building to surv
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

So the Keller Building is going to get a reprieve.

The Old House Guild wants the dilapidated factory building to survive, the Main Street Association -- of which owners Bob and Ruth Haag are members -- wants it to survive, and Mid-States Development, builders of the Chesapeake condos next door, will cough up $100,000 to help keep the building from deteriorating any further.

Wanting to preserve Sandusky's architectural treasures is laudable. And Mid-States certainly seems to be trying to be a good neighbor. There's history in those bricks, and in similar picturesque piles around town.

But is this good money after bad? A section of roof was found last July to have collapsed, firefighters won't go into it unless there's a life to be saved and, last August, city commission voted to pull it down.

We don't doubt that, given enough work and money, the Keller Building could be restored into something historically significant, safe and useful. But it's clear from last Tuesday's story the money depends on whether the sort of programs that fund these sorts of project remain in existence. Given tight state budget strings, that's a pretty big if.

It's not a pleasant thought, but eventually a triage of sorts has to come into play: What's OK if left alone? What has to be left to its fate so resources can be spent on those things that can be saved with a reasonable amount of work?

Sunday's story lists dozens of assets, all over Sandusky and Erie County, of historic significance. Some thrive in daily use, some don't. Is the amount of treasure that can be invested in these properties limited? And if so, can it be better allocated elsewhere?