Members of a panel in Dayton, Ohio, recently approved the demolition of Orville and Wilbur Wright's first bike shop.
The Dayton Board of Zoning Appeals voted 5-1 to reverse a previous decision to allow the demolition of the Wright brothers’ first bike shop from the 1890s, the Dayton Daily News reported.
The Dayton Landmark Commission originally denied a request to demolish the 129-year-old building in September. The commission members said they originally denied the request because the city failed to meet architectural design standards.
The city then appealed the issue to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
The building, which briefly housed the Wright brothers' bike shop, has been empty for decades, and fear has grown among residents that it is a safety concern and could collapse at any moment.
“You know what happened in Florida with the building that collapsed,” Todd Kinskey, Dayton’s director of planning, neighborhoods and development, said. “We (the city) are the owner of this building — we have a duty, we have a moral, if not legal obligation, to do something about this building.”
However, historic preservation groups have spoken out against the city's plan, arguing that the building needed to be part of a redevelopment project that kept the building's facade, according to The Associated Press.
“The applicant (the city) does not have the right under the ordinance to determine what an acceptable mitigation plan is,” Monica Snow, president of Preservation Dayton Inc., said. “The Landmarks Commission has that right.”
The Wright brothers were the "first in flight," launching the first successful powered airplane in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, N.C., according to the National Park Service.