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November 7, 2013

Proposed historic district in Springfield tabled

(Continued)

“The SHPO representatives were not treated very graciously,” said Dries, who said that a number of people at the forum used it to push their own agenda.

Ostrander said that the forum helped to launch their letter gathering campaign.

“We got 60 to 70 letters right then and there,” he said.

Opposition to the district has become so fierce that some people in Springfield have proposed ejecting the historical society from the community center, where they are currently based.

“(It’s) a very serious possibility,” said Dries.

Ostrander doesn’t support ejecting the society, but he does believe that they shouldn’t hold their private executive meetings there.

Given the opposition to the proposed historic district, Dries wrote to SHPO on Sept. 27 on behalf of the historical society requesting that the effort be tabled. He also said that, before this letter was sent, SHPO did not seem like they would be acting on the request.

“They were not going to move ahead with it,” he said.

Soon after, SHPO formally tabled the proposal.

Dries still hopes that they can bring back the proposal, once passions have cooled. At the same time, he said he doesn’t see this happening until support is achieved from the town board.

“As long as the town board is not supporting it it’s pointless to bring it back to life again,” he said.

Ostrander said that the grassroots effort against the district was what led to its tabling. He also said that, after talking with an official from SHPO, he doesn’t think the proposed historic district will be revived without massive popular support.

“In any democratic society, the majority should rule,” said Ostrander. “The people won in the end.”

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