Community should evaluate value of heritage
Preserving our heritage, whether in the form of documents, memorabilia, period costumes or buildings is not an easy job. It takes perseverance, dedication, constancy of purpose and diligence.
The Ashland County Historical Society has demonstrated all these virtues and it is evidenced in the campus they have developed through the years. This has come at a cost, a cost that cannot be measured in dollars alone. Many individuals in this community have contributed dollars, for sure, but many have contributed much, much more. They have shared their family heritage with the community and in various ways, including their own time, as volunteers. That’s evident in the find collections available for the whole community to experience. That’s the price of preserving a city’s, a county’s , a country’s heritage.
If we as a city, a county, a country only look at what “price” the subject piece of property is worth to the community, we, as a community are missing the point! This community, as do all communities, needs an aggressive economic development plan. This plan should include an element that takes into consideration preservation of historic aspects of Ashland. We should recognize the historic buildings in the area as assets to the overall community not as a cost drain.
It has been said by many in the community that a drive through the Center Street Historic District by visitors evokes many positive comments. Why can’t the folks in this community see what visitors see in their brief visits? An individual who has in attendance at the Historic Preservation Board meeting said it well when she said we are on the edge of a “slippery slope” if we do not take a step back and consider the issue.
That issue is the demolition of a building that is on the National Register of Historic Places! These buildings cannot be brought back one the wrecking ball has completed its work! It is, however truly amazing how these building can be brought back to their former glory when a community comes together to restore them. It is also amazing how just such a project can bring a community together. It has been done, and is going on all over the country as we speak!
The Ashland County Historical Society has not developed to its present status by not performing due diligence in all its projects. What the Preservation Board is seeking is the same attention to detail to this project as it has consistently done through its operation. There are resources that can be tapped at the local, state, and national level that, in my opinion, have not been enough researched as evidenced by the responses given to inquires about what can be done with the building. The challenge is before not only the Historical Society, but the community as a whole, to evaluate the worth of its heritage before it is too late!