Hobson to move forward

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 25, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Hobson residents intent on having the village named to state and federal historic registries are about half way through the process.

&uot;The middle part of the road is where you are right now,&uot; Patrick Andrus, a historian with National Register of Historic Places, told two dozens residents at a community meeting Friday.

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&uot;It’s a complex process…and you are now doing the hardest work in the trenches.&uot;

The research, such as collecting oral histories and photographs of the community, is needed for the state – and subsequently, the federal – nomination forms.

Hobson resident, Mary Hill, has already completed much of the work.

&uot;You are on the right track but it takes time,&uot; said Bob Carter, community services director for the state Department of Historic Resources. &uot;We are committed to helping you get through the process.

&uot;Your next step is filling out a state nomination form.&uot;

During his three hour visit in Hobson, Andrus took a whirlwind tour of the historic village founded by black oystermen and made a short presentation to residents at Mt. Lebanon COGIC Church.

It’s rare for federal officials to make site visits to proposed sites, especially so early in the process.

But the drive from his Washington D.C.

office was worthwhile, Andrus said

&uot;Looking at a picture is no substitute to being on the ground,&uot; Andrus said. &uot;With all the notes I’ve made and the photographs, I will be able to recapture Hobson when I review your application.&uot;

Even if Hobson is named to the state and federal registries, private property owners will retain full rights of the site and residents will continue to be responsible for keeping properties up to city code.

In recent years, the city has cracked down on the enforcement of city code violations, issuing citations for high grass and dilapidated housing. At least twice, the city has razed vacant homes after repeated citations to property owners were ignored.

&uot;The national register does not provide instant monies,&uot; Andrus said. &uot;But it does tie into other groups interested in restoring communities that may have money available in the form of grants.&uot;

The state and federal registries use the same criteria for historic structures and communities: local historical significance, the property’s association with historic people, architectural style and, if no building is on the site, the archeological value.

The National Park Service receives about 1,500 nominations a year for the national register, he added.

Receipt of most government services goes from the top down, Andrus said.

But the opposite is true for the National park Service, at least when it come to getting property listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

&uot;It starts in the hearts and minds of the people in the community,&uot; he said

Once a nomination is accepted at the state level, a state board recommends it be passed up for consideration to the national registry, Andrus said. At that level, Andrus reviews nominations to insure it meets the federal guidelines for registry inclusion.