Certificates, not bricks | TheUnion.com

Certificates, not bricks

A recent editorial in The Union suggested that it might be a good idea to sell bricks from the now-destroyed building that once housed Friar Tuck’s, the Herb Shop and other businesses and offices. The sale of these would ostensibly raise money for displaced musicians and employees, and maybe even those business owners without insurance. Although this sounded like a great suggestion at first glance, I think there’s a much better idea.

First of all, the bricks from that building are valuable as architectural material, even if it turns out that they’re not structurally sound. Secondly, they belong to the building owners or, more likely, their insurance company – they don’t belong to the public or the Chambers of Commerce. For the owners to donate these valuable bricks for sale might be asking a bit much of them. They’re probably already trying to make ends meet, and used bricks are worth a pretty penny. Third, they really should be reused in the rebuilding project. If they aren’t suitable as sound structural material, they could presumably be cleaned and used to reconstruct the attractive and warm interior decor in the restaurant and the other businesses there. There’s really no more appropriate place for these building blocks of history to be used.

The worst thing that could happen, in my mind, is to see the rubble sold to an architectural recycling firm, only to find used bricks on pallets for sale at a Bay Area discount home or building supply company in six months.

But what about the musicians, employees and business owners who are suffering? Does this idea prevent them from receiving aid from such a sale? The answer is a simple “No, of course not!” Why not sell “Certificates of Title” to these bricks and let the bricks be reused in the construction in whatever way is appropriate. Sure, it’s a bit corny, especially since the printed certificate is of no more real use to me than an old brick or two. But it serves the same fund-raising purpose while preserving the integrity of the materials and Nevada City’s architectural values.

Dennis Brunnenmeyer

Grass Valley

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