Eats Stand to be demolished

The Strasburg Fire Department's Eats Stand on Strasburg's Town Lot will to be torn down to make way for parking lot improvements. Rich Cooley/Daily

The “Eats Stand” in the Town of Strasburg’s parking lot will soon be gone as the Architectural Review Board on Thursday granted a certificate of appropriateness for its demolition.

The demolition passed 3-2 with Vice Chairman Linda Wheeler and board member Mike Redden opposing the demolition.

Mayor Richard Orndorff said over the phone that the Town Council already approved the demolition with the condition that Architectural Review Board grant the certificate, and another vote is unnecessary.

Orndorff explained that the Eats Stand was constructed by the Strasburg Fire Department and several civic organizations in the mid-60s. He said that while the structure is not historic, it is nostalgic “and played a significant role in the past and present of Strasburg.” He added that it holds a special place in the hearts of some citizens, himself included.

It is a town-owned structure, but the Fire Department funds all associated maintenance and owns equipment within the building. Orndorff said that the Fire Department voted in favor of the demolition and requested that the town follow suit.

He said the town put so much weight on the department’s request because it oversees the stand.

Chairman Ashleigh Kimmons said over the phone that voting in favor of demolition was a “difficult decision, and I saw both sides,” but he did not “see any realistic or feasible use of the building.”

“I see the cultural significance that the stand serves for the community…but I did not want to see a building just be left to denigrate that does not have any architectural significance or really any historical significance outside of the cultural history,” he said.

He added that other downtown buildings are in structural disarray and should not be demolished, noting that he voted against the demolition of Brill’s Grocery Store, the Taxi Stand and the Brown House.

Wheeler said over the phone that she opposed demolition because the vote was turned over to the Architectural Review Board with short notice, which “discomforted me.”

She added that the decision would likely deter the Ruritans and Lions clubs’ fundraising efforts as they garner about $4,000 from food sales at carnivals.

While they will be able to use the Fire Department’s kitchen, Wheeler said “logistical problems” could be presented and that the “ambiance will be very different.” She added that the stand was built to serve food and wonderfully fulfilled that purpose.

She also opposed demolition because, along with the Taxi Cab Building and Brill’s Grocery Store, the stand is the third town-owned building in the historic district to be demolished within a year.

Wheeler said “there is a historic district for a reason” and “the ongoing destruction of town-owned buildings bothers me.”

Orndorff said the demolition should occur “as soon as possible,” in coordination with paving and improvements underway as part of a Community Development Block Grant.

According to previous reports, Town Manager Wyatt Pearson said the town would pay for both the demolition and a $3,000 asbestos abatement.