I am left scratching my head and wondering what the function of the HPC is if “There [is] nothing we could have done, should have done or plan to do.” (Town Talk Article 7-19-08, remarks by Ed Crump, President of the HPC) regarding the home that was moved from 2401 Monroe Street. According to the Historic Preservation’s Website, a description of what the HPC is supposed to be doing for our city is:
What We Do
The purpose of the commission is to preserve the unique architectural character of our [Alexandria’s] older buildings and neighborhoods.
Why Its ImportantOlder buildings and neighborhoods are our physical link to this community’s cultural heritage. Preservation of our historic structures insures Alexandria will retain its unique architectural and cultural identity for the future. By celebrating that identity we engender pride in our community and become a place where more people will want to live and work.
Do you think what was done at 2401 Monroe Street helped Alexandria retain its unique architectural and cultural identity for the future? No. The house was moved outside of the city limits. Therefore Alexandria LOST a piece of its identity and unique architectural and cultural identity. Do you think what was done at 2401 Monroe Street helped engender pride in the community and helped Monroe Street become a place where more people will want to live and work? No.
If there is nothing they could or should have done, then why do we even have a commission? We are wasting taxpayer money. Supposedly, there was nothing they “could or should have done” about the Bus Station on Bolton Avenue or the Armour Building. However, they did it anyway. My last question: What then, pray tell, is the function of the HPC? To allow their commissioners to move historic homes out of the Alexandria city limits further blighting an area of Alexandria? Isn’t that counterproductive? To pick and choose which projects they want to work on? I believe that the HPC has been commissioned to protect the assets of the city. ALL of the city, not just the parts which they deem need preservation. In this instance they have failed at their duties.
People say they would never live on Monroe Street. That’s fine. Don’t. I have three things to say then: 1) Don’t come around and make it worse; 2) Don’t allow people to come in and remove what we have left; 3) Don’t criticize people for standing up for their neighborhood and trying to make it a better place. The issue here is not whether or not you want to live here. The issue is that the Historic Preservation Commission is acting insincere in advocating for some projects in parts of the city, but not for all. Also, for turning a blind eye when one of their commissioners moved this house because this commissioner did not want to live there or thought that someone else would not want to live there. I DON’T CARE whether you want to live here or not. So, just because you don’t want to live here, it is ok to further destruct and devastate the area? The rules only apply when you think they should apply? That is absurd and defies logic. It is the same as saying I only kinda broke the law. Or, I kinda passed the test. Or, the rules don’t apply to me because the area is blighted. Always justifying actions. My parents used to tell me that if you have to sit down and try to justify your actions, you are basically trying to fit a square peg in a round hole, you need to go back and see what your intentions were…chances are, they were not honorable and you need to reevaluate your actions. I think the same theory applies here. The HPC needs to reevaluate who they are, what they are supposed to be doing and advocate fairly for all areas of Alexandria.