Landmark set for demolition - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Landmark set for demolition

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September 17, 2002

Albany - The future still looks grim for Radium Springs Casino. It's scheduled to be torn down at the end of the year. But there's still work underway to save the historic building.

To look at the stately white Radium Springs Casino, you might never know that it has endured fire and floods. In 1982, fire destroyed 80% of the building. It was rebuilt. But because of the new construction, it no longer qualifies for the national register of historic sites.

"The register requires the building be more than 50 years old," said Architect Lane Greene. Greene specializes in restoring historical buildings.

On Tuesday, he offered commissioners several options for restoring and even relocating the casino. But he says without the site, the building loses its historical importance. "If you move the casino away from the springs, it no long has the same value."

It was after the floods of 1994 and 1998, that the casino was abandoned and eventually sold to FEMA under the flood buyout plan.

Greene advised raising the building about 5'5", above the county flood plain. The lift would cost of about $300,000. But, this would take an act of Congress since FEMA has already set the demolition.

Another option is salvaging a few pieces with historical significance and constructing a replica of the casino near Oglethorpe and Broad, at a cost of a whopping $1,250,000.

"We would save the pillars, the wood-work inside the buildings, and several other pieces," said Greene.A third alternative would be cutting the casino into at least three pieces and relocating it. This plan would cost about $500,000.

City leaders say they don't have that kind of money and without county funds, the casino will be demolished.

Posted at 3:00 by kathryn.murchison@walb.com