Historical significance of Hagatna building challenged - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Historical significance of Hagatna building challenged

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Just as lawmakers spent the past two days discussing a bill to demolish the old Manuel F.L. Guerrero Administration Building in Hagatna, a public hearing has been set for next week on a separate piece of legislation to actually place the building in the Guam Register of Historic Places. "Yes, I don't agree with Senator Cruz forcing the issue of putting it on the register," stated State Historic Preservation Officer Lynda Aguon.

She's referring to Bill 86, introduced this week by Vice Speaker BJ Cruz. The measure would place the old Department of Administration building into the Guam Register of Historic Places. "Just that the process to nominate a site into the Guam Register of Historic Places is being bypassed is taking away the mandated function of the Guam Historic Preservation Review Board," she added. "They were established to perform that function of processing nominations."

Cruz says he introduced the bill as part of his fight to save the building from demolition. The bill states that the historical significance of the building is unquestionable, irrefutable and undeniable. "Historical significance, I think, because he's equating or because of the associated events that had occurred there while the governors were there and this and that," said Aguon.

Aguon notes that while in 1979, the building was entered into the Guam Historic Resources Division's Guam historic properties inventory, but thereafter nothing happened. "On the data form it had that it had moderate value and that it should be recognized for its architectural feature. At the time it was in good condition and the disposition was to keep it on file and wait for 25 years to proceed to register it," she said. "1990 came nothing happened."

"Here we are now and the building is at the stage that it is in, so the architectural integrity is gone, it's been modified. That's my take on that."

As for now, Aguon says she will not support Bill 86 and would instead prefer to see it go through the normal process of the review board determining its historical significance, context and integrity. Aguon however does support the demolition of the building. In a previous hearing, Public Works recommended the building be torn down as it was uneconomical to renovate the existing structure.

The public hearing on Bill 86 is set for Tuesday, May 5 at 9 in the morning.

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