Friends of Palm Springs and preservation -
Coming off of what is being touted as the most successful Modernism Week, we are blessed to either live in or visit a city that sings praises to its architecture and design. Collectively, we celebrated by attending lectures and films, touring homes and neighborhoods, and ending each day with a cocktail party at some swanky location. PSPF continued its success during Modernism Week with sold out tours and parties, including our annual Retro Martini Party. We appreciate all who attended and look forward to planning events for both the Modernism Week Fall Preview in October and Modernism Week 2016 in February.
Yet with all this praise for our architecture, something in Palm Springs does not feel right. Something seems out of kilter with our drive to preserve our city's heritage. New developments continue to be planned with an emphasis of "out with the old, in with the new". We continue to see our architectural treasures threatened with demolition and deemed "in the way of progress."
We at the foundation are by no means against new development. There are always exciting projects making their way through the approval process of the City. There is a need for new construction, both residential and commercial, but that new construction must be designed to coexist with our architectural heritage.
The example before us now is the threatened Hugh Kaptur-designed Tahquitz Plaza. The developer of the proposed Aberdeen project originally intended to raze the entire historic structure and presented the project to the City's Architectural Advisory Committee (AAC). The AAC rightly denied the project, hoping to save Kaptur's beautiful modernist buildings. The City's Planning Commission initially "continued" the project, hoping again that the Kaptur building would get its respect. The project came back, still demolishing 75% of the complex, and was properly denied by the Planning Commission. The developer has appealed to City Council and the fate of the Kaptur complex is now in their hands.
PSPF continues to fight this project and we appreciate the help we have received from so many of you. Many of you remember our postcard campaign with "THIS is Palm Springs" splashed across photos of several buildings in Palm Springs, including the Tahquitz Plaza. Many of you now are using social media to get the word out that our historic architecture needs protection. I cannot count the number of times I see photos of the Tahquitz Plaza on Facebook. Finally, in the Desert Sun newspaper on April 8th, Hugh Kaptur himself sums up the battle by stating, "the developer has an obligation to provide public benefit to the citizens of Palm Springs. It is impossible to see the public benefit from demolishing more of our iconic architecture."
Your letters and emails, whether to city officials or to the press, do have an impact. And attending city council and commission meetings does make an impression. Together as a community we can make a difference and protect the historic architecture of our city. We thank you for your continued support.