Historic Preservation Dominant Topic Of Council Meeting, Initial Work Approved For Riverwalk Amphitheater
Preservation of Council Grove’s historic downtown business district was the focus of much of Tuesday night’s meeting of the Council Grove City Council, with members of the Morris County Historical Society on hand to present their opinions. Doyle Barnes, representing the MCHS, read a statement that expressed concern over the digital signs that have been erected around town, as well as the alterations to downtown buildings that lack historical preservation. The statement, in part, included a proposal for a historical design review committee to be created by the Council, which would be made up of a combination of MCHS volunteers and City Council members. The group also proposed that an ordinance be passed focusing on the historic preservation of the downtown business district.
Mayor Debi Schwerdtfeger read a letter she had drafted that was to be sent to the MCHS following their comments at a prior meeting. The letter stated that Council Grove’s historic sites are very important, but that they are not the only thing that draws people to Council Grove. She asked that people focus on the future, while looking to the past for inspiration. Schwerdtfeger also stated that ordinances of this nature would harm economic growth and keep businesses from coming to the city.
Council Member Jesse Knight stated that he felt it was not feasible to appoint any kind of historic review board without equal representation from business owners, while Council Member Mark Brooks said he feels Council Grove does a good job of mixing history with progress and that the town cannot continue to provide services without growing tax revenue. Knight also stated that he would like the MCHS to be on board with the city’s marketing plan.
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