Green Mouse Sez: Coyle Family And Ranking City, County Politicos In Agreement On Adaptive Reuse V.v. The Historic Coyle Building.

Good news from Randy Smith and Ann Baumgartle, as reported in a Destinations Booksellers e-mail update this morning. In fact, this is so hopeful that I may have to devote my column this week to a further exploration of this unprecedented support for adaptive reuse on the part of the four public officials mentioned below.

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Sometimes a person chooses greatness...and sometimes greatness is thrust upon them.

Last week, the family that owns and operates the Coyle auto dealerships found themselves in one of those moments. As you will know by now, our neighbors at the Coyle Dodge dealership on Spring Street saw their multi-year relationship with Chrysler Motors severed involuntarily.

We're writing you today to ask you to take the time to join us in applauding the recent announcement by Chris Coyle that the company intends to extend the company's legacy by working to transfer the historically significant Coyle Building to public ownership.

We learned from The Tribune that the almost 4-acre site is being considered for a new government center to serve the people of New Albany, and perhaps of Floyd County. That site includes the treasured architectural gem that houses the showroom and offices for the dealership.

Coyle, who speaks for the family, spoke eloquently about how his family has built a legacy of service to New Albany over the past decades. The Coyle building, which many still call "Coyle Chevrolet," has stood as a sterling example of early 20th-century commercial architecture. The Coyles, in turning that building into an auto dealership, and in keeping it up over the years (just last year they refurbished and repainted the architecturally historic exterior), have been shining examples of the preservation ethos and outstanding exemplars of the idea of adaptive reuse.

As business neighbors, Ann and I have always admired the way that building was maintained. When we heard that Chrysler was terminating the dealership, we feared that the Coyle Building, an important part of our streetscape, would be under serious threat.

Speaking for the Coyle companies last week, Chris Coyle said "When it's all said and done, if this goes through it will be our gift for New Albany and the 65 years that we've done business there," as quoted in The Courier-Journal.

The Coyles have shown a keen awareness of the importance of preserving our architectural heritage. They were pioneers in adaptive reuse of buildings. And now they are prepared to hand off (well, sell) their historic building to our elected officials.

We'd like to ask you to call Chris Coyle right now and thank him for preserving this building and tell him how much you appreciate their stewardship.

We're told that the four public officials examining this property are serious about acquiring this historic building. If you will, could you call each of them this week and tell them how appreciative you are that they are willing to take this historic building into public stewardship.

We think it's important. You know we don't use these e-mails for such things very often. We think it would mean a lot to all of these men to hear from you and know that you appreciate their efforts to maintain this piece of New Albany's history.

Here's how to reach these men:

Chris Coyle - call (866)-836-3427 or (877) 876-4815 or use this e-mail link.

Mayor Douglas B. England - call (812) 948-5333 Monday or e-mail.

City Council President Dan Coffey - call (812) 949-1262.

Commissioner Steve Bush - call (812)-948-5466 or e-mail.

County Council President Ted Heavrin - call (812)-944-1311 or e-mail.

Don't wait. Ann and I would appreciate your joining us in extending our thanks.

Have a great week while we all watch this private-public partnership moment come to fruition. Ain't it great?

Sincerely,

Randy Smith and Ann Baumgartle
Proprietors, Destinations Booksellers