Ethics Questions Force East Clinton Vote Delay
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)– The Huntsville Historic Preservation Commission was scheduled to vote on developer Bob Broadway’s request to partially demolish East Clinton School at its meeting Monday, but questions about ethics forced the vote to be postponed.
Concerns raised by a community member about commission members who may have had connections with the developer, Broadway agreed to withdraw his proposals for review until an ethics committee can look at the situation.
Monday evenings action was only the latest in a long process that has brought large crowds and intense protest from neighbors. The preservation commission’s first discussion about East Clinton last month drew nearly 100 residents many wearing “Save East Clinton” stickers.
At that March 11 meeting, the commission voted 6-2 to not allow Broadway to knock down the empty school building in the Old Town Historic District to make way for about a dozen new homes.
Broadway has alerted his proposal and is now offering to keep part of the school’s art deco exterior on Clinton Avenue.
The second option – and the one Broadway seems to prefer – involves keeping a smaller section of facade around East Clinton’s main entrance. Broadway said he has had two calls from people interested in turning the roughly 2,200-square foot space into a private home. However, he said he would rather fix it up and donate it to a local civic group.
The city school system closed East Clinton in May 2012 as part of an initiative to eliminate surplus classroom space. Broadway’s development company, The Broadway Group, agreed to buy the site in December for just under $1.6 million.