By Brandon Dumsky
Bid farewell to the aging aluminum facade at America’s Community Bank in downtown Blue Springs.
The facade, which has been considered somewhat of a downtown trademark and eyesore, according to many opinions, began to be removed Tuesday morning.
The removal was celebrated by a ceremony hosted by both the city of Blue Springs and America’s Community Bank outside the bank building at 1100 W. Main Street. Many dignitaries attended the ceremony including Mayor Carson Ross, State Rep. Jeanie Lauer (R-32), Chief of Police Wayne McCoy, America’s Community Bank President Wes Condron, and several members of the Blue Springs City Council and Chamber of Commerce.
Ross and Condron were elevated by a crane to ceremoniously tear down the first piece of aluminum facade. Not only did it mark the occasion of renovating the building, but also served as a beginning for future downtown revitalization efforts. Ross stated this project “is a great example of public and private partnership to restore a historic treasure...” Lauer, Ross, and Condron mentioned they were all “happy,” “anxious,” and “thrilled” that revitalization efforts were finally coming to fruition.
The building where America’s Community Bank is located has been around for more than 120 years. The aluminum facade was added to the existing brick exterior in the late 1960s. Now the building will have its original exterior restored along with the installation of energy-efficient windows and doors.
“The America’s Community Bank building restoration project will bring back a historically significant structure to its past glory and serve as a corner piece of our downtown revitalization efforts,” said Cindy Miller, president of Downtown Alive, a group whose mission is to facilitate business growth, historical preservation, and streetscape improvements in downtown Blue Springs.
The America’s Community Bank renovation project was funded by Community Development Block Grant funds which where made possible through the “Preserving America” initiative by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. According to the Preserving America’s website, one of its goals is the “increased local participation in preserving the country’s cultural and natural assets...” The city of Blue Springs authorized the matching grant through the CDGB 2012-13 Annual Action Plan.
Other future downtown revitalization projects include the addition of a Pizza Shoppe right across America’s Community Bank, which is set to open in January 2014. Colorful banners will be placed throughout downtown to promote the Downtown Alive revitalization projects.