Sunday, November 30, 2008

What is "Historic Preservation"?

Thoughts and contemplations on the truth behind Historic Preservation...

Everywhere around me
I look around and see
people looking back through time
to find out who to be

The point is NOT that historic preservation is bad. The point IS that, in the case of the Bridge Street Bridge, are we prepared to sacrifice our future for the past?

I can't help but wonder if the Vermonters who built bridges and roads and houses and businesses 100 years ago had the same debates? Did they talk about preserving history? Or were they more focused on making sure that goods and people were able to get from one side of the water to the other in the quickest and most cost effective manner? And if they weren't thinking about it, why are we? After all it's their time that we are trying so hard to preserve. What about our time? What about what's next?

The irony is inescapable. We may destroy the growth that has occurred in Richmond in order to preserve the history that we think will help the growth in Richmond??!!

There is something good about these financial times. The good is that clarity comes with trying times. Now that the binge is ending, everyone is exposed, one way or the other, to the financial bed that they made. Stories of historic preservation begin to sound downright silly when their consequences mean real people and real businesses, real lives, going under.

Historic Preservation? Come on. Wake up. Build the bridge.

It's not bad enough that the bridge in question could be delayed by such a fantasy but it's been 85 years. Eighty-Five years we have had to see that the thing has been rotting, decaying, being pounded by car after car after bus after truck. Who's been on the watch? And now, "Historic Preservation" may hold it up?

I have a new idea for these new times...something a little more jarring and serious. How about Human Preservation? How about building a future based on who we want to be not who we were? How about instead of preserving history we start creating it.

Wake Up.

Build the Bridge and build it now, build it to last.

No comments: