My friend John Gilderbloom makes some good points in this editorial he managed to slip into the Courier-Journal this morning.
In regard to the Metro Council’s efforts to make major changes, and gain more control of, the process in which properties are designated to be preserved — Gilderbloom’s valid point is that if it ain’t broke, why fix it. It seems the effort by Council members to gain more control of the preservation process was prompted by an admittedly bad decision by local officials. That was the decision to designate the South End’s Colonial Gardens as historically signficant, which makes it untouchable for developers.
The Colonial Gardens decision was a bad one, but not one that should prompt wholesale changes in the law, as the Council members involved claim. Led by David Yates of District 26 in the South End, the move to change the law is unnecessary. The current system has generally worked fine, and requiring residency near properties under consideration, and ultimately a Metro Council vote, would only serve to make preservation more difficult.
Gilderbloom’s arguments for the economic gain from preservation make sense to me.
Louisville needs more preservation not less. Preservation is the key ingredient of why people love Louisville. The Derby City claims one of the largest collections of existing Victorian houses in the U.S. We have Fourth Street, West Louisville, Churchill Downs, Main Street, the Henry Clay building, Second Street Bridge, Palace Theatre, East Market, seven landmarked historic districts and many more neighborhoods designated on the National Register of Historic Places. These are the places that make us smile.
I am a big fan of progress, but history is, well, history. While I’m not sure anything will ever come of the Whiskey Row buildings near the downtown arena, I’m glad someone stood up and kept the historic storefronts from being torn down.