FDOT rep said it was possible for Fisher Hamilton building to be moved.
A plaque doesn’t change a building, according to FDOT.
Thursday night, the Milton Historic Preservation Board heard comments from the Florida Department of Transportation and Metric Engineering regarding the Project Development and Environment (PD&E) study for easing Highway 90’s traffic congestion and how the alternatives would impact historic structures. They also heard from the Santa Rosa Historical Society regarding placement of a historical marker on the Fisher Hamilton building following the HPB’s appearance at the Santa Rosa County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) September 24. The HPB moved to let its staff research the building as well as take information from outside sources before coming back to the board with a decision on a marker.
Peggy Kelly, project manager with FDOT, said it was a likely possibility the Fisher Hamilton building could be moved, the only building impacted by alternate one. She said it would need to move at least 40 to 45 feet. “Our intent is to move (the building) not tear it down.” She said FDOT has moved buildings before “that were literally falling apart.”
Amy Wiwi with Metric Engineering reviewed the four alternate routes FDOT submitted to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) from the PD&E study. Alternate one, she said, widens Hwy 90 going through downtown and has the least impact to homes, businesses, and any other structure. Routes two through four would mean relocating homes and businesses such as the Milton Garden Club’s building.
When considering the plaque for the Fisher Hamilton building, HPB Vice President Mary Golden moved to have their staff research the building and come back with a decision. Sammy Carroll, board member, said, “Some people have done that research already and can give that quickly.” Milton City Planner Randy Jorgenson said, “And we invite that participation.”
President of the Santa Rosa Historical Society Vernon Compton spoke reminding the HPB it is called to protect the buildings of historical significance in the historic district and the Fisher Hamilton is a contributing structure to the district. The SRHS made the original request to the BOCC September 24 for a historic marker.
Ross Pristera a historic preservationist with the University of West Florida and on the Pensacola Historic Preservation Board said the Pensacola HPB has completed the research on the Milton historic district and would be willing to work with the Milton HPB.
Gale Thames, HPB board member suggested waiting until a decision was made on moving the Fisher Hamilton before placing the plaque.
While Wiwi said, “I grew up here. This was my entrance into town,” she said a plaque on the building would not change how FDOT or FHWA deal with the structure in relation to Hwy 90. “A plaque doesn’t change the building,” she said.
Jorgenson also suggested if the HPB allows a historic marker to go on the Fisher Hamilton building, the board should seek a similar marker for every one of the 100 plus contributing buildings to the historic district.