It’s hard to watch a building with historic meaning fall into disrepair. It’s an even more gut-wrenching decision to tear it down. Clayton’s town council was moving in that direction after it had worked and worked with the owner of the old Red & White grocery building to make repairs.
But that effort wasn’t getting anywhere and town officials were ready to make that difficult decision.
Now the building is under new (well, old) ownership after Katie Smith, the former owner of the building, reclaimed ownership. She has plans, not all that much different than the previous owner, to repair what needs fixing and to work with a tenant to reopen the building as a retail business. Hopefully, she has the financial werewithal to accomplish what the previous owner was unable to do.
Either way, it gives Clayton residents plenty of reason to hope that the building will not have to be torn down.
And, if, as Smith hopes, it can be reopened as a grocery, it would give residents in that part of Clayton an option close to home for grocery purchases.
Clayton leaders are willing to extend the olive branch of time to Smith, but they will clearly want to see demonstrative action in the near future to rehab the building and make it safe, regardless of its return to a productive use.
The large building sits on the corner of O’Neal and Front Streets and commands an imposing view for passing motorists. The idea of a empty lot there is appealing to no one.
Hopefully, the council’s patience and diligence will pay off for everyone.