Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Friends of Sleepy Hollow Proposal Heard at HPC

Friends of Sleepy Hollow (FOSH) brought a proposal to the Historic Preservation Commission last night to place 8 neighborhood signs around the eastside of town.  Every discussion participant, including members of the public, had strong feelings on either side of the proposal.  It is safe to say that everyone was passionate about historic preservation but did not agree on methods.  It is also safe to say the historic preservation is a lot more complicated than regulating the restoration of old homes.

By meetings end, the yes or no question about FOSH's signs was not resolved.  But lots of questions were raised and good points made.  The highlights for me:

1. There is a group of people in the process of revitalizing FOSH.  They have raised money towards a neighborhood sign project and look towards more civic improvement initiatives.  They have gone door to door in neighborhoods for support in neighborhoods not considered to be part of Sleepy Hollow.  They want to market the positive attributes of historic neighborhoods.

2. The HPC is not ready to agree to signs in a historic district that do not reflect the name of the district (two of the eight sign locations would be in historic districts).  But HPC members urged FOSH to get behind the goal of expanding and adding historic districts within Plainfield. 

3.  Members of the public pointed out that Plainfield is a historic town and that goes well beyond one ward or one section of town.  In fact, a house does not need to be at the high end of the price range to have historic value.  Nor does a neighborhood need to be upscale.  With emotions running high, I think many people at the meeting lost sight of the fact that everyone agreed on this.

4.  I find it heartening that we have new blood coming onto the local scene who want to take positive action in Plainfield.  I trust that all concerned with neighborhood improvement and historic preservation, whether they are operating in official capacities or at the grassroots level, will sort out their differences and do good works in Plainfield.

One thing was clear last night.  FOSH is committed to building support for their initiatives.  They will need the people support even more than the financial support.

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