Historical Hysteria and again it is all in a word :)
So when is it Historical and what the hell difference does it make anyway? And why is ONE little word so damned important ?
On January 18th our new Community Development Director Mrs. Tracy Urdija made a statement before city council found here
referring to an area in South Lorain as being a Historic District. According to Mrs. Urdija this was causing a concern for a windows program for seniors that was under discussion”
“Not only do the seniors have to be income eligible, but there are certain areas of the city that we will not be able to go into to help them with windows. One of the areas will be South Lorain because that has been declared a Historic District. “
A survey of properties in the area known as Charleston Village and an area in South Lorain were part of a historical and architectural survey back in 1994.
I, as co-chair of Charleston Village Society Inc ( the preservation district ) started to receive some phone calls from worried residents and property owners about “historical status”
would they be able to put up their siding , new windows , paint etc here in the “village” because we were part of that survey in 1994 weren’t we- how is this going to effect us?
It seems my fellow residents/ property owners are pretty well read and had been looking at the packet of information found on the City of Lorain’s website with regard to “Historical Districts” and a letter to then Community Development Director Sandford Prudoff.
Are we a Historical District too – what does that mean ?
Not that I was aware – Charleston Village had never received any paperwork or information that we were deemed a”historical district “.
I checked the National Historic Register and no we weren’t listed and neither was South Lorain.
A few more phone calls to other “historians” and council people ensued. E-mails sent to Mayor Krasienko and council people were sent by yours truly as to the ongoing situation and a little research – there wasn’t much I could do on a Sunday.
But bright and early Monday morning I contacted previous Community Development people who had been around in 1994 and beyond to make sure my failing memory served me correctly. I also called the Ohio Historical Preservation Office to get things straight in my mind and then the phone rang:
HMMMMMMMMM well those of you that KNOW me know I have been suffering from lack of tolerance for spin- gobbledegook and politics as usual.
I am not going to be party of such nonsense anymore – I haven’t the patience. I don’t have an agenda, a job to keep, an office for which to run I am just me trying to cut through the crap.
ALL the people on the end of the “speaker phone” (which I consider the height of rudeness – but that is just me ) all they had to say in their professional capacity ( yeah they are getting paid to do this) ALL they had to say to me was
South Lorain is “eligible” for a Historic District Designation and as such when the city is using “federal dollars” we have to treat that area as a designated historic district when using federal funds .
BUT instead I was put into an adversarial position and given what I considered spin and gobbdlegook with intonation that was decidedly lacking in my opinion. – Not a good idea as regular readers will attest.
My problem is that when you mention “historical” anything -people panic they have visions of not being able to put up siding , add different windows, have the control of their own property wrenched away from them . I wanted the “professionals” to be more circumspect when using the term Historical and by telling members of city council that they would be unable to help seniors with windows because it was a historical district was just plain wrong.
However this little go around which lasted all day Monday did give yours truly an “education ” on Historical Designations properties on the National Historic Register and what it means to the lay person to live in a “historically significant” structure or area.
Unless you are using federal funding you are not bound to have any certain types of windows, colours etc. As long as you are using your own private money it means squat. Oh there are areas that have their own codes but in Lorain……….
A Historical District Designation just gives you a “pride of place”, a travel and tourism destination and you can get a 20% tax break when rehabbing such properties. But there aren’t any extra maintenance regulations for you the lay person ( apart from the local ordinances that cover such property maintenance) AND if those aren’t enforced welllllllll there you have it – netting around the building sound familiar?
National Historic Register 1982- Broadway Building – photo Morning Journal
Which probably explains why the Broadway Building, which is on the National Historic Register, is in such a state. And Yes! that building can be taken down using private dollars or non federal funds as can apparently any structure on the National Historic Register.
AND YES even with federal monies the City of Lorain CAN DO WINDOWS they just have to go through the process which does not, I am assured, take months.
This whole mishmash of confusion hinged on the word eligible, and what does one little word matter anyway ?
I attended City Council tonight and the ordinance regarding the windows was sent back to committee for further discussion. Yes, I added to the confusion and also hopefully to the solution