Historic preservation or historic fossilization?

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

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Oak Park is a living, ever-evolving community, not a museum like Colonial Williamsburg or Dearborn Village. Development that thoughtfully integrates the truly historical with the modern and the futuristic should be welcomed, not discouraged.

The Wright Trust clearly developed its Home & Studio visitor center proposal with that objective in mind. If its proposals are turned down by the Historic Preservation Commission because some old house of no particular merit has to be removed, or because Mr. Wright might have suggested the color for the downspouts on an addition to the home next door, we might as well rename it the Historic Fossilization Commission.

I agree that there are serious issues about the impact on the character of the community from significantly increased numbers of visitors and their vehicles. In my opinion, remote parking, an off-site tour bus staging area and free shuttles should be on the table. But as far as determining what is historical and deserving of preservation from Mr. Wright's legacy — based on the track record, I have more confidence in the Trust than in the Fossilization Commission.

Bob Stigger

Oak Park

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