Want to see a real preservation nightmare? Read this article about the state of emergency declared at the Pompeii site in Italy.
“Archaeologists and art historians have long complained about the poor upkeep of Pompeii, dogged by lack of investment, mismanagement, litter and looting. Bogus tour guides, illegal parking attendants and stray dogs also plague visitors.”
Jeez. This sounds like the Buffalo Waterfront. Except for the looting, since there’s been nothing to loot (until very recently) for years.
“Every year at least 150 square meters of fresco and plaster work are lost for lack of maintenance,” Antonio Irlando, a regional councilor responsible for artistic heritage, told the newspaper. “The same goes for stones: at least 3,000 pieces every year end up disintegrating,” he said.
This is really more than just a problem of neglect; it is also an economic issue, and is obviously not unique to Western New York. When one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy hasn’t been adequately maintained for 30 years, one begins to realize how other priorities take precedence.
So it is with Buffalo and its below average economy in a state that has other priorities. The preservationists, city and county need to square their preservation needs with their ability to preserve, then tackle the ones that bubble up to the top of the list. Preservation triage may be the way to more quickly consolidate the forces needed to salvage and repair at least some of our historic structures.