About one week after the Orange County legislature voted to renovate Paul Rudolph’s Orange County Government Center and authorize bonding $10 million to the cause, lawmakers on both sides — the pro-demolition Republicans and the pro-renovation Democrats — are now saying that Rudolph’s brutalist building may not be saved just yet. According to the Times Herald-Record, two Republican legislators running for county executive this year have claimed that last week’s vote did not necessarily preclude the possibility of razing and replacing the bulk of Rudolph’s design according to current county executive Ed Diana’s plans. One contender, Steve Neuheus, foresees that new cost analyses will prove that renovations will cost more than demolition and new construction in the long run.
Democrats such as county legislator Roxanne Donnery are also fearful that the surprising 15-6 pro-renovation vote last week was insincere on the part of Republicans and merely the product of “election-year panic,” as lawmakers were pressured to arrive at a decision by March 12 or lose $2.7 million in federal funds to repair the damages the building incurred from a storm in 2011. Donnery suggests that some of her fellow legislators were reluctant to face voters while the debate over Rudolph’s building remained unresolved.
In the end, it looks like we’ll have to keep holding our breath until April, when a new study evaluating the estimated repair costs for the building is released.
- Kelly Chan