Preserve Historic Missoula statement following Merc ruling

Preserve Historic Missoula

The members of Preserve Historic Missoula (PHM) and all those supporting the appeal to save the historic Mercantile building are profoundly disappointed in Judge Dusty Deschamps’ ruling to preserve (or permit the demolition of) Missoula’s most iconic commercial building. We appreciate this opportunity to express our concerns through the judicial system and for their thoughtful consideration.

PHM has maintained that the deconstruction permit process was flawed and the move to overturn the Historic Preservation Commission’s decision to deny the demolition permit does not comply with the Historic Preservation Ordinance. We request that the Ordinance be reviewed and clarification provided regarding compliance, and PHM hereby volunteers to work with the appropriate parties to accomplish this.

As we challenged the process through the Third Circuit we are also grateful for the many people who contacted us with words of encouragement affirming that the Merc is indeed worth saving. Above and beyond the nearly 4700 citizens who signed our petition and all of the help we received from Montana Preservation Alliance, we want to thank our patrons, our board and everyone who has worked behind the scenes on our behalf.

Even now the Mercantile continues to inform our community as it has since its very beginning in 1885 as a symbol for progress, good or bad, at the corner of Higgins and Front. This entire process sets a new standard, good or bad, for the future of historic preservation in our city as a commitment to acknowledge our heritage or, sadly, replace it. We say again – historic preservation and successful downtown development are not mutually exclusive. We want to help all of the parties find a community based architectural solution that respects the Mercantile and represents something of which Missoulians can be proud.