| Friends of Old DoverP.O. Box 44Dover, DE 19903-0044
City of Dover
15 Loockerman Plaza
Dover, DE 19901
TO: The Honorable Councilman Sean Lynn, Chairman, Legislative, Finance, and Administrative Committee
It is interesting to hear some of the discussion regarding the role of the Historic District Commission, and by extension the Historic District, being discussed in economic terms. It is important to talk about the Commission, the district, and the guidelines that govern the Historic District because by weakening the process of one – the proposed elimination of the Historic District Commission-the importance of our Historic District Guidelines is decreased.
It is a statement of convenience to place the perceived economic faults of Downtown Dover towards the Historic District Commission, and by extension, the Guidelines themselves. Historic structures that have been demolished or significantly altered promote the loss of character that enrich the lives of people today. Part of the story of Dover – a story stretching back 330 years- is missing. Have there been economic benefits of these actions?
A strong historic character is not an impediment to economic development…it can be just the opposite, a strong draw for tourism, and a perfect partner for businesses, museums, colleges, schools, and government. We are doing a better job of promoting our historic area, and keeping an aesthetically cohesive historic district, and the appropriate oversight, makes economic sense.
Having a separate Commission helps to guarantee the process is followed…and that helps to ensure better design. There is a greater sense of relatedness, more innovative use of materials, and greater public appeal within historic districts than in areas without historic designations.
Our historic districts provide a very real educational benefit. The preservation helps our current generations, as well as generations to come, the very story of Dover, as the architecture and structure provide the best possible record of ourselves and our communities.
And, perhaps most importantly, it is the main characteristic of the City of Dover. Try to visualize, if you will, Dover without The Green….or try to imagine a copy of the Real Estate newsletter Open Door or the weekly house listings in the Post or the State News without a single mention of homes being in or near “Historic Dover.”
The Friends of Old Dover urges the city to not only continue the protection of the Historic District by retaining the Historic District Commission to oversee the Guidelines that have stood us well over the years, but to strengthen the process by recognizing the value that this process has brought the city. There may be problems with Dover, but removing the oversight in the interest of expediency is not the solution.
President, Friends of Old Dover