Due to inaccuracies and misinformation by City Historic Preservation Officer Ms. Glenna Booth, I respond to her comments in the Sept. 2 ESI. The Nov. 3 vote to abolish the HDC does not abolish or change the Historic District designation of Eureka Springs.
The Historic District will remain in effect and its property owners and other stakeholders will continue to follow state and federal guidelines.
I, as many property owners in the Historic District, do not make tens of thousands of dollars of improvements on each of our properties and devote months or years without care and diligence to the historic integrity and quality of the district.
I bought my property at 35 Mountain St. more than five years ago and still am working on enhancing it. Built in 1887, the property was so dilapidated as to be termite and rodent infested and did not meet city or current fire code. I followed city, state, and federal standards in the renovation.
I also followed HDC guidelines although they were sometimes arbitrary and would change during the renovation process.
I find it odd that Ms. Booth would tout helping to raise over $15 million in grants to help the Historic District when I have yet to meet any residential property owner who has received any grant funds or tax credits in recent years. I also find it odd that the HDC never once in over five years approached me with even the slightest advice on how I could apply for a historic designation renovation grant to help restore 35 Mountain St.
I followed Arkansas State and State Supreme Court guidelines in obtaining the necessary number of signatures of both the Historic District property owners and city residents to get my petition on the ballot to abolish the Historic District Commission on Nov. 3.
The City Clerk has done her best to try to derail the voice of our democratic due process. After speaking with hundreds of our citizens it is apparent to me that most want this petition on the ballot. Numerous of them want to see the HDC abolished as it is an impediment to progress in the city.