Fred Faust, a former director of the Lowell Historic Preservation Commission, responds to Lowell Sun publisher Jim Campanini’s recent attack on historic preservation in Lowell. Fred left the following as a comment to my Sunday Week in Review article but since the issue is of critical importance to Lowell, I thought it deserving of a new post:
I’d like to weigh in on the Lowell Sun’s desire to have the Lowell Historic Board be hit by lightning. I am only exaggerating slightly. Here is the response to Jim Campanini’s editorial comments criticizing the Lowell Historic Board which deserves to be pilloried for explaining to Sal Lupoli that perhaps Lowell’s most visible mill should undergo an architectural design process in keeping with our nationally significant status. This revealed itself in a childish rant and demonstrated a failure to understand Lowell’s basic commitment to historic preservation as economic development. Here were my comments.
This is a fairly vindictive and unbalanced opinion for a newspaper that in a May, 2013 special edition called the result of historic preservation “Miracle in Mill City.” It continued on to describe “the magnificent rehabilitation and rebirth” of Lowell and its mills. Lowell made a compact back in 1978 with the federal and state governments to provide standards to preserve nationally significant assets. The National Park delivered $40 million in development and preservation funds with its founding. A billion dollars followed over the years with new investment in older buildings. Wouldn’t a hundred other cities make this trade off? Wishing lightning strikes on city agencies is hardly responsible and does not encourage a dialogue regarding more flexible standards. If economic development is responding to the loudest and most uncooperative critics, I choose the quality of standards epitomized by the Lowell National Historical Park. I choose to preserve our heritage and culture. Please wake up and appreciate the assets and teamwork that mark Lowell as one of the best middle sized cities in America. Jim, the baby does not need to be thrown out with the bath water.
Former Aide, Paul E. Tsongas
Former Director, Lowell Historic Preservation Commission
Present Business Owner, Lowell MA