To the Editor,
As a professional historian, I want to express how troubled I am by the seeming contempt for historic structures displayed throughout Richfield Heritage Preserve’s strategic planning process. These structures distinguish RHP from other parks. They can be used to generate income and programming. Yet, despite calls from residents and park visitors, and offers of financial help, they were divided into three tiers with significant historical buildings declared to be “unsavable.” How incredibly shortsighted that is.
We hear constant laments about the lack of funds, but recently, Cricket’s Corner was demolished without any attempt to find funding for it. It remains on the RHP website giving visitors a false sense of the park and planning priorities.
No other place in the world has a Garfield Lodge. No place has a Kirby, Amity, North, and Coach house. If they are razed, you squander irreplaceable historic sites, educational resources, the goodwill of park visitors, and alienate donors. Money will be even harder to come by. Who would donate to a place that hasn’t even tried to keep its best assets? People must be allowed to raise money and donate work for all these structures, lest RHP loses its distinctive character, becoming overshadowed by more well-known green spaces. If you do not save these historic structures, you break faith with people who voted for the park after being shown the buildings in open houses. People voted to save historic buildings and will step forward to save them, but the RJRD must first allow that to happen.