Local Group Starts Petition to 'Save The Barn'

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A group of residents Essex County wants to ensure Windsor Arena doesn't fall victim to the wrecking ball.

Save The Barn has started an online petition after the latest proposal for the 97-year-old property on the McDougall near Wyandotte Street fell through.

The Windsor Express's $12-million proposal for the project was narrowly rejected last week, with Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens calling the plan a liability to taxpayers.

Organizer Rachel Kaczmarski says the possibility of demolishing the building has been floated by the mayor.

She says The Barn needs to be designated as a historical site.

"There's just a lot of nostalgia and that's just a building that we feel needs to go on the designated list so it's not demolished," she says.

Kaczmarski says the now shuttered arena holds a special place in the heart of generations for Windsorites.

"It's an icon of the downtown core. We all have memories from The Barn, whether it's going to a Spitfires game or some other type of event there," she added.

The Windsor Express project looked promising, but Kaczmarski says the group will support any viable plan that will save the building.

"Certainly it would be great if it could be kept as an arena. Whether it's the Express or it's somebody else in there, it's something that I think would be the focal point for downtown," she says. "In our opinion, it would really start rebuilding our downtown."

Windsor Express Owner Dartis says there are investors and a credit union interested in backing the project and he hopes to re-open a dialogue with the city in the coming weeks.

So far, more than 260 people have signed the petition at www.savethewindsorbarn.com.