|County hands over abandoned school to help redevelopment odds|
Ted Alexander knows a neighborhood's optimism can often be measured by the condition of its buildings.
That's especially true for a place like the former Arlington Elementary School in west Gastonia, where empty hallways and boarded-up windows have sullied the spirits of nearby residents.
"These old schools especially have a lot of emotional ties, because this is where so many people spent a large part of their lives growing up," said Alexander, the director of Preservation North Carolina's west regional office in Shelby. "It's very disheartening to see one of these schools go downhill, deteriorate and just sit vacant."
Founded in 1939, Preservation N.C. strives to save historic structures across the state. It has worked to revive more than 700 properties in the last 30 years alone, Alexander said.
Gaston County commissioners now hope the nonprofit can come to Arlington school's rescue. Thursday, they transferred ownership of the surplus property to Preservation N.C., with the aim of speeding up its potential redevelopment.
"At the end of the day, our interest is pretty simple," said Commissioner Tracy Philbeck. "We want to create something positive in that neighborhood. An empty building that no one's using is not positive."
(Gaston Gazette, 3/3/13)