Source: Press Release
Date: July 10, 2006
Byline: Mike Messina
Tinicum Township Saving Lazaretto
This statement was read at a public meeting. This transcript was provided to ushistory.org by township secretary Jean McCoy
The preservation and restoration of the historic Lazaretto Building is of significant importance to the Tinicum Township Board of Commissioners. The Lazaretto building was erected on the shores of the Delaware River toward the end of the 18th century as a quarantine station to avoid the spread of diseases into the Port of Philadelphia and was operational for approximately 100 years. For most of the 20th century this property has been owned privately and was most recently used as a seaplane base and marina. During the years of private ownership, the historic Lazaretto was allowed to deteriorate to the point that plans were drawn for its demolition to make way for commercial development. To avoid the loss of what is considered an important piece of our nation's history, the Tinicum Township Board of Commissioners together with our residents and state legislators were able to spare the Lazaretto from demolition.
In a classic case of "no good deed goes unpunished" some in the preservation community have now begun a campaign to demonize Tinicum Township for their heroic efforts. Now that funds have been raised and plans to preserve the building are in place there are those, many of whom are from outside our community, who have decided that the entire parcel should be left untouched even though funds raised for our Firehouse was the only means by which this building would be saved from destruction.
I think it is appropriate at this time that some of the more outlandish falsehoods put forth in this campaign to prevent the construction of Tinicum Township's Firehouse be put to rest. Allow me to suggest to you some of the misleading information that is being disseminated throughout the community.
The Township's desire to save the Lazaretto has already significantly delayed the proposed Firehouse construction. It is no longer fair to ask our community and particularly, our volunteer firemen to further delay the implementation of this very important community project while a very few voice their opposition without putting forth any viable, cost efficient alternative plan. It is obvious that the funding for the historical preservation of the Lazaretto was not forthcoming between 2001 and 2005, so there is little to suggest that necessary funds will suddenly appear. The Board of the Commissioners of Tinicum Township are committed both to the construction of a sorely needed firehouse and the historical preservation of the Lazaretto.
Accordingly, we call on those who have participated in these public attacks to stop immediately. It is neither constructive or [sic] beneficial to the community to continue spreading misinformation which unfairly characterizes our community, our volunteer fire fighters, and elected officers as people intent on forever destroying a national landmark. The Board of Commissioners will always entertain constructive solutions that will appropriately balance both the preservation of the Lazaretto while at the same time maintaining the safety and welfare of our residents. False information and threats will not deter the Board of Commissioners from their public mandate of building its Firehouse and Evacuation Center.