MissPres News Roundup 1-22-2010

I’m always nervous to report a slow news week for fear I’ve missed something important, but I have full confidence that if I do fail miserably at my reportorial task, diligent MissPresers will set me right as quick as a wink.

The Columbus Dispatch followed up on last week’s article announcing a meeting of local preservationists and MDAH with this week’s “Meeting focuses on ins, outs of historic preservation.” The MDAH speakers, Michelle Jones and Bill Gatlin, helped local preservation commissions understand the roles of federal entities like the National Park Service, state agencies like Archives & History, and municipal commissions.

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According to the Natchez Democrat, “Preservation Commission OKs Roth Hill Casino Project.” Roth Hill Road, correct me if I’m wrong any Natchezian readers, is upriver from the Natchez-Under-the-Hill area where the other casino is, so this is a new area for casino development, but still within the historic core of the city, albeit not really that visible from the downtown because of the high bluffs shielding the river. The road does give a beautiful view of the river, and there’s a boat ramp down there. The casino developers apparently have backed off from a 2-story to a one-story structure and say they have worked with the Historic Natchez Foundation to try to make the design somewhat less unappealing. Oh whoops, my bias is showing.

This snippet makes me worry a bit:

Commission Chairman Marty Seibert said the integrity of the design is the ultimate responsibility of the city planner, which the city currently lacks.

“But it also depends on those making the promises — the developers,” Ball said.

As usual in the Democrat, the comments are required reading.

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Disappointing news from Tupelo, the “Cotton Mill Lofts project abandoned” according to the Tupelo Daily Journal/NEMS360.com. As you may recall, this project to convert the old cotton mill building in the Mill Village Historic District into housing has been in the works for over two years. The building, constructed in 1901, is a major landmark in the central part of Tupelo. But the developer, Todd Development of North Carolina, couldn’t make the numbers work in the current economy, so he’s abandoning his plans and says he won’t be back. This is a blow to the neighborhood which has been pulling itself back up in recent years after several decades of decline. Hopefully, when/if the economy picks back up, Tupelo will once again be able to pursue the dream of re-using this great old mill building.

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Loved this Sunday’s editorial “Warehouse: City must ask permission to break rules” in the Vicksburg Post about how the city administration routinely undermines the standards and decisions of its own Board of Architectural Review:

Vicksburg’s past and present administrations have this in common: They support the standards set for and followed by the Vicksburg Board of Architectural Review — as long as they agree with decisions of the volunteer panel.

. . . .

Seems the city has bought 940 crowd-control barricades with a $67,680 grant and has no place to keep them in any of the 60 or so buildings the city already owns. So they want to put up a metal building, a request the board of architectural review rejected unanimously.

“Ludicrous” is a term used by one panel member, Betty Bullard.

The city administration, as the process goes, can appeal to itself and decide whether its application has merit.

Wonder how that will go?

Thanks to the Post for shining the light on this always disturbing use and abuse of power.

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Also from Vicksburg, an update on the on-going Ceres Plantation controversy in “Ceres’ plantation house to be sold, moved from site.” As you recall from last week’s roundup, at least one person had expressed real interest in moving the antebellum plantation house off of its site now owned by the Warren County Port Commission where it is threatened with demolition for, wait for it, a service station. So, now the Commission has decided to advertise for proposals to move the house, while leaving its two barns on the site. So . . . there’s no room for the house, but the two barns can stay? Anyway, let’s hope this comes to a successful resolution without too much angst. I’m not a big fan of moving buildings from their original locations, especially plantation houses, which seem especially rooted to the land, but we’ll see what proposals come in and go from there.

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Finally (and now that I’m near the end, I realize this hasn’t been such a slow news week after all), Mississippi’s National Register Review Board, whose Real Name is long and not necessarily relevant to its duties, met yesterday in Jackson and approved the following National Register nominations:

  • “Castle Crest” (Woodland Hills neighborhood), Jackson
  • Poplar Hill School, Jefferson County
  • University of Southern Mississippi Historic District, Hattiesburg
  • Sugarnoochee Fish Weir, Noxubee County

Please don’t ask me about the last one because it’s outside my realm of expertise. These nominations will now go flying off to the National Park Service in Washington DC; NPS will make their decision about whether to list them officially on the National Register or not within the next couple of months, so stay tuned.



Categories: Columbus, Demolition/Abandonment, Historic Preservation, Natchez, National Register, News Roundups, Preservation Law/Local Commissions, Tupelo, Vicksburg

4 replies

  1. Also since your last Roundup we learned that the Illinois Central railroad depot in Greenville was donated to the joint Greenville-Washington County Historic Commission. According to the article in the Delta Democrat Times, the depot will be the Commission’s future headquarters. The article (at least in part) also ran in the Clarion Ledger: http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=20101190334

    Like

  2. Sucarnoochee…can’t say it, but I can spell it.

    Like

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