We must protect historic preservation

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As things begin to settle in Washington, the possible effects on the core issues of the historic preservation community and movement are concerning. The Historic Districts Council (HDC) believes that the protection and preservation of our shared built environment is—and must be—a shared civil right for all people, guided by community consensus and aided by government action.

The incoming administration has made government deregulation a priority—going as far as to suggest that for every new governmental regulation proposed, two should be removed.

Relying solely upon private efforts to protect our country’s historic places and neighborhoods is like trying to hold back the tide with your hands. It takes collective effort, private investment, political capital and government support to secure and maintain a positive future for our historic buildings.

Without any one of those elements present, the task is twice as hard. Without governmental support—or worse, with government opposition—protecting already designated landmarks is hard and saving non-designated historic buildings is almost impossible.

While the strongest preservation tools are local ordinances, they rest on a federal foundation of laws and legal decisions, both of which could be reversed or ignored by an administration which seems dedicated to stimulating economic development at any cost.

HDC pledges to work closely with our local, state and national colleagues to monitor any and all situations originating from the national level which might affect local community preservation concerns.

Moreover, we will alert all our supporters and friends about these situations as they arise, so that we can make our collective voices heard by the people who represent us at all levels of government.

Simeon Bankoff

Executive Director

Historic Districts Council

Posted 12:00 am, November 17, 2016
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