Saturday, December 24, 2005

Preservation in Sarasota

An editorial in Monday’s SHT concerns preservation.

Specifically the editorial says the developer (Wayne Morehead) on whose land the Crocker Church and the Bidwell-Wood Church reside should contribute significantly to relocate and save these important historic resources. We agree.

The Sarasota City Commissioners have indicated support for this project. They have asked staff to look for ways the city could provide up to $200,000 for this project. We applaud the Commissioners for this action. Far too many of Sarasota’s historic structures have been lost and each year brings new threats to the memories of our past.

We would also like to see the Commissioners take a serious look at preservation.

Tony Souza of the Downtown Partnership is well versed in the benefits of historic preservation. He has a passion for telling us about these benefits. Our downtown still has a number of unique historical treasures. These buildings are much more interesting to explore than the new storefront towers now being constructed. Preservation of these pieces of our history will add to the fabric of our downtown and draw more visitors.

As the editorial says:

Nearly toothless preservation rules give the city little power to require much of developers whose projects threaten historic structures. The rules should be strengthened; county ordinances are tougher and could provide an example for the city.

Preservation is expensive, but smaller cities like Punta Gorda and Venice have made the effort. Sarasota should too.

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