It’s time Hall Place had a new pair of shoes

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 9, 2005

Editor, the News Herald:

In response to the letter &uot;Hall Place resident against historic designation,&uot; the 12 families that have recently joined the Hall Place Community Association did so at the urging of two individuals – one of whom was the previous vice president – because they did not agree with the vote by the association members to proceed with historic designation.

The discussion to become historic dates back to May of 2004 (28 members present) when the issue was first addressed by our president. At that time arrangements were made for city and state officials to attend future meetings to discuss our concerns. In June officials were present and handed out paperwork and discussed our concerns. In July (29 members present) more information was presented to the members on becoming historic. In August (22 members present) we had four speakers, two homeowners from historic Downtown Smithfield, one homeowner from historic West End Suffolk, and one local businessman dedicated to helping restore Suffolk’s grandeur. The meeting was turned over to these speakers to share, discuss, and answer questions concerning remodeling and renovating homes in a historic district.

Email newsletter signup

In September (26 members present) a speaker from the Department of Historic Resources was present and spoke on preservation of historic buildings, federal and state tax credits, and answered questions of concern. Finally in October (20 members present) a motion was made, seconded and a 17-to-three affirmative vote was made to proceed with the paperwork for historic designation.

During all this time monthly newsletters were hand delivered to all residents. After the vote, the vice president at the time resigned her position because she did not agree with the majority vote to proceed. HPCA worked in conjunction with the city to collect all the required data for submission of the application. The application is currently in Richmond, out of the hands and control of the association, and will be brought before the residents and city for a public hearing in the future, where these &uot;new&uot; members can voice their opinions.

In the April meeting these members were not treated rudely or spoken down to. I remember myself being told that because I had only lived in my home for more than 18 months that there was no way I could care about the neighborhood and that I was too young to know anything. I am appalled that wanting to save the beauty of these older homes and return the neighborhood to its original glory makes us &uot;uncaring leaders&uot; and &uot;Not Hall Place Folks!&uot;

Normal life for the past 20 years in Hall Place has been deteriorating homes (evident by minimal property value increases, even some decreases), neglected rental properties, gunshots, drug busts, and slumlord conversion of single family homes into two, three or four single apartments.

If this is &uot;walking a mile in their shoes,&uot; then yes, all of us &uot;newer&uot; residents feel it is time to &uot;buy Mama a new pair of shoes.&uot;

T. Stainback