To the Editor,
As the Council weighs its decision on the Historic Preservation Ordinance I think back to discovering Westfield for the first time in 2007. Like many others, my husband and I moved from NYC to Westfield to raise our children and immediately fell in love with its natural beauty, quaint downtown and all the lovely neighborhoods.
During several visits, it became apparent that Westfield was special and a town that clearly had pride in its significant historic past and thriving community.
We drove through numerous neighborhoods, each more beautiful than the last. Yes, there are tree-lined streets and well-groomed lawns, but what makes this town so stunningly beautiful is the homes….
I’ve never seen a town with such a wide variety of beautiful historic architecture.
We had to live here!! So, we bought a Dutch Colonial circa 1928 and have loved it (and its good bones) ever since.
Over the course of our 13 years living here, things have changed as my husband and I have sadly watched many beautiful old homes torn down and the character of our town in jeopardy.
When the call went out for volunteers for various committees a few years ago, I immediately applied for the Historic Preservation Commission.
I have no background in architecture or history — I am just a citizen who loves this town and knows that if it loses much more of what makes it special — it won’t be anymore. And that won’t be good for anyone.
I don’t think preservation should be political and I don’t think it should be scary. I’ve learned so much about our Town’s rich history on this Commission for the past 2 years and have also learned that the Commission is about partnership and community – not telling people what they can’t do.
Last week, a fellow Westfielder decided not to tear down an 18th Century home, once he learned about its historic significance (he had no idea!). He wants to work with the Commission on recommendations to maintain its integrity, while updating it for 21st Century comforts- which we wholeheartedly support!
That is what the Commission is about: working together to preserve our history where appropriate, while making every effort to allow for 21st Century living.
I hope people take the time to look at the facts about the Commission and the ordinance directly, so they can form a well-informed opinion.