I moved to Eureka Springs after discovering its charms: Victorian era buildings and houses, narrow winding streets lined with miles of rock retaining walls, and natural springs.
That was in 1971, just about the time Eureka was designated a National Historic District. Sadly, numerous important buildings had already been lost to fires and neglect. The creation of the District, one of the first in Arkansas, was a huge step in slowing further losses.
The initiative on the November election ballot to abolish the Historic District Commission is an assault on the efforts to preserve those structures which still exist. The commission is essential to ensure that further wholesale alteration and destruction of contributing structures does not occur. Without guidelines and enforcement, further detrimental activity could lead to the loss of the national designation status as a Historic District.
I have lived in and owned both residential and commercial properties in the city for over 49 years and have never considered it an imposition to apply for approval from the HDC for any work. As a real estate broker for over 20 years I recognize that the preservation guidelines protect the value of these properties. While it may be inconvenient to go through the process for approval, property owners should be aware of these laws when they purchase property in the District.
I served a three-year term on the commission back some many years ago. Commissioners are volunteers who have the best interests of the preservation of this town. Perhaps they need to brush up on their roles from time to time, following the guidelines without letting personal opinions slip into their decisions.
Please vote to retain the Historic District Commission.