"Real liberty is neither found in despotism or the extremes of democracy, but in moderate governments.
Alexander Hamilton

Saturday, August 29, 2015

" These could be the first baby steps Moultonborough needs to start building community and helping to determine what the townspeople want to see in their village.As members of the historic buildings panel said such projects require leaders to take the initiative. " Meredith News Editorial

That is from the last two paragraphs in this weeks Meredith News editorial ( below) regarding the recent panel discussion last Monday evening at the Moultonboro Library. While I can appreciate the gist and intent of the editorial, the line quoted above concerns me. One would think after reading this editorial that we have been sitting back doing nothing.
A committee appointed  jointly by the BoS and Planning Board and facilitated by Town Planner Bruce Woodruff, comprised of citizens, board members, selectmen and business owners, met in 2014 over nearly 11 months and produced a report that contained “… a vision for the future of the Village and recommendations for attaining the vision…” The Selectmen felt so strongly about this topic that it was brought to Town Meeting last March for endorsement by the Legislative body. It will be included in the new Master Plan.
"The Village Vision Committee (hereafter VVC) is charged with study and the preparation of a report, to include a boundary description of and vision for the future of the Village, as well as recommendations for attaining or achieving that vision, and to present the report to the Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen."
We have provided leadership and direction on both the Selectboard and Planning Board. We have a plan the community endorsed and a way forward. Some may have their own agenda and complain that " nothing is being done" , but the realty is far from nothing.
It is very difficult to build consensus on any major issue, and there is no such thing as 100% agreement, but this time I think we got it right.

C'mon Meredith News. Give us a break!

Bringing life to historic buildings 
Preserving and finding uses for historical structures has been a theme in many communities. In the pages of this paper are stories about an effort in Center Harbor to repurpose the townhouse, discussions in Moultonborough about possible ways to attract developers to reuse its vacant historic buildings, or even the ongoing efforts by an area company to restore covered bridges. 
All of these are structures that reflect the area’s history. All of them were built during a much different period of time and have had many different owners and uses. Now many of these historic structures are sitting vacant and underused, which leaves a hefty toll in the structures themselves.
We applaud all these efforts to try to preserve find new life for these historical buildings and structures. These structures reflect the character and history of the community and it would be best if uses can be found for them. Of course, this is never an easy task. Historic buildings come with the issues of aging and it costs a lot of money to repair and renovate a building. There are also the considerations of bringing a building up to current code and compliance. There are grants and programs available through the state and numerous nonprofit organizations, many of which require matching funds. Of course different structures need different attention. The Center Harbor Townhouse is structurally sound and while the Moultonborough Grange is not as stable. It also means that the clock is ticking on many of these structures. 
There is also the major consideration of what they could be used for. This issue was discussed in detail at a recent presentation in Moultonborough. Many communities across the state have had their older structures repurposed for businesses, residencies, municipal use, or many other purposes. The question is how can a developer find these buildings attractive enough to renovate instead of building new. 
This use of Moultonborough’s structures also ties in with the ongoing and much-debated topic of what the village center should be like. There have been numerous studies and surveys on what people want to see for the village, though there have been only a few initiatives to do something. 
 One possible option that came up was the formation of a community or economic development group in Moultonborough. One such group was formed in Center Harbor to attract businesses and visitors to town. This is something people in Moultonborough should consider forming. 
The Center Harbor Community Development Group has done activities such as organizing community events, creating a map of local businesses, offering technology workshops, and many other simple and meaningful activities. These could be the first baby steps Moultonborough needs to start building community and helping to determine what the townspeople want to see in their village. 

As members of the historic buildings panel said such projects require leaders to take the initiative. Such action could lead to more community vibrancy and more ideas and possible ways to bring that life back into its historic buildings.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Blogger, but I don't think most townspeople are as excited as you and the rest of the BOS about the village vision. It is basically a banking, school and town government area isolated from the more heavily populated areas of town. You can toss in a church and Post Office for good measure. I have been in this area for fifty plus years and the only time I have gone to the village other than to conduct business is to kill some time at the Country Store on a rainy day. Do you think if you build it out, i.e. sidewalks, gym/community center, public sewer and water, people will come? It will be an expensive experiment.

Moultonboro Blogger said...

Well anonymous, you seem to have missed the point entirely, but you did prove my point of it being impossible to get 100% agreement on anything. The editorial was wrong in saying we have not provided leadership or done anything to determine what people want in the village. That by the way was the point. You may not have an interest in preserving and protecting the village,but thankfully many do. 1633 people responded to the survey,a tremendous response. 62% agreed that an attractive village area is important to attract residents and businesses. A run down, crappy looking village is not conducive to promoting anything except a perception that we just don't care. As a selectman, that is not acceptable. It is disheartening to read comments such as yours that basically just say give up and don't even try. No one is building out anything by the way, but the place in our town where we have the schools, library, town offices and public safety is important to all residents and should not be allowed to deteriorate into an eyesore.
Lastly, isolated? You have any idea how many vehicles pass through the village every day? Drive a few miles up 25 and see a run down village with dilapidated buildings being held up by termites holding hands. That is not my vision for Moultonboro.

Anonymous said...

Blogger, we all know the effort that went into the report. The News editorial was blatantly wrong. You wrote quite a while ago that a vision is always needed. I think you may have even mentioned 50 years from now or quantified it in some matter. That doesn't change the fact that the market place has spoken. There are no developers or business owners hurrying to scoop up the available properties to get in on the ground floor. Yes there is much traffic through the village on a daily basis. How many of them contain Moultonborough residents? Please exclude vehicles traveling to the schools or town buildings. I pass through Center Harbor on 25 fairly often but only stop when I need something at one of the Heath stores or to conduct business at the Post Office.

People who agree with you may not respond to your postings. Those who disagree will be more likely to do so.

Save Our History said...

"As members of the historic buildings panel said such projects require leaders to take the initiative. Such action could lead to more community vibrancy and more ideas and possible ways to bring that life back into its historic buildings."

And then - - -
Let the antique historic Taylor farmhouse located in the downtown historic area now owned by the town - to just deteriorate, dilapidate, stagnate, and just fall apart - because our town fathers don't have a clue on how to maintain real estate, don't want to maintain real estate, or have a secret hidden agenda for this historic structure.
Zero maintenance to this historic farmhouse by the town other then to mow the lawn.
Hey, here's an idea. Put together a citizens committee to make recommendations on how to preserve the downtown area. Then make a report. Then have the town just ignore the report.
Where is the leadership in this town to save this historic farmhouse?
Anyone?