Friday October 26, 2012

The Great Barrington His tor ical Commission firmly en dorses the Community Pre ser vation Act (CPA) and encourages town residents to vote YES on this important measure on Nov. 6. Adoption will help fund projects that preserve the history and character of our community.

The historical groups in town are charged with preserving and presenting the many impressive buildings, structures and artifacts that give us our identity and place in history. We nominate sites to the National Register of Historic Places, establish historic districts, restore historically significant buildings, manage and care for the tens of thousands of pieces in the town museum collection and present exhibits, publications, tours and lectures that inform our understanding of Great Barrington history.

To carry out these projects each year we give thousands of volunteer hours and raise money from grants and private donations. For example, the Historical Commission re ceived a grant this year to produce an innovative walking tour of our historic Main Street as an iPhone app. Many such grants require local matching funds; CPA funds would provide invaluable support for these projects.

Some of our historic sites and buildings are owned by the town, like the Town Hall and Ramsdell Library. When these buildings need repair and renovation, the CPA matching funds that come from the state would help defray the costs, lowering the tax burden on town residents.

Adopting the CPA will help support the preservation of Great Barrington’s historic fabric, so fundamental to the visual character and collective memory of the town. It will strengthen our economy, creating jobs and enhancing our tourism. Recent statistics show that over 2,480 historic preservation projects have been approved in CPA communities across the state.

The Historical Commission urges all residents to vote YES on Ballot Question 4, in favor of this initiative, so that Great Barrington can also claim these far-reaching benefits.

PAUL W. IVORY

Great Barrington

The writer is chairman of the Great Barrington Historical Commission.