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Letters/My View

May 24, 2013

Letter: Our region's historic vistas also need protection

To the editor:

I’ve been noticing a common thread of appropriate concern in the local area over proposed new commercial buildings.

One of our neighboring towns to the south is buzzing about a big, new building downtown blocking ocean views from the already-faded downtown area. A developer in Salem is proposing a huge, modern office building as a “gateway” to our historic city.

Many residents know these projects don’t feel right, but haven’t articulated the real issue — the preservation of our historic vistas.

Historic vistas need to be a critical consideration in redevelopment, as inappropriate scale and placement can ruin the character of a city or town, which can also negatively affect the tax base.

A town may not have a Revolutionary War battlefield to protect. But, a public harbor view can be equally important. Maybe a city doesn’t have the vista of a great estate to defend. But the chance to glimpse a historic neighborhood that passers-by have been admiring for hundreds of years is worth fighting for.

So, I urge all of us to start talking about protection of historic views and vistas — particularly during this boom of local redevelopment — because once they’re gone, they won’t be coming back.

JENNIFER FIRTH

Salem

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