City Hosts Workshop on Historic Preservation
Nearly 100 attend public meeting to discuss historic structures in Lakewood.
Pick 10 buildings in Lakewood that you would preserve as a historic landmark.
That was challenge given to a crowd of nearly 100 people at the Lakewood Public Library on Wednesday night.
They all showed up for a workshop to talk about historic preservation.
Dru Siley, the city’s director of planning and development, who hosted the meeting, first asked residents to consider what makes a building historic.
“We’re beginning a conversation about the entire community — what’s important to us culturally, architecturally and historically,” he said. “This is the start of the conversation. These are complicated issues. It is a complicated conversation.”
The crowd was split up into several smaller subgroups, and asked as a group to decide the top 10 buildings in the city that should be given historic preservation status.
Among the buildings listed were the Masonic Temple, the Screw Factory, and the Hilliard Square Theatre — to name a few.
There were 47 to choose from.
“There are cultural assets, there are architectural assets that we want to make sure are here for the next 100 years,” Siley said.
For about 30 minutes, the groups — made up of about a dozen people — went one by one through each of the historic properties on the list and talked about them.
“How many people have a major headache after that exercise?” Siley asked. “Imagine doing this with 52,000 folks.”
Working with the Lakewood Heritage Advisory Board, the city will begin to craft a mission statement about historic preservation; set some goals; and decide what to do next.
“There’s been a lot of discussion about historic preservation and community activism,” he said. “We have so much passion and we have so much commitment to our community that people turn out for community meetings to talk about issues."
The last time the city hosted a meeting at the library, more than 150 people packed into the auditorium to discuss the possibility of McDonald’s demolishing the former Detroit Theatre to make way for the Golden Arches.
Many of the same faces were in the crowd Wednesday night.
“Often times we are reactive as a community,” Siley said. “I think all of us are guilty of that. Sometimes we’re inactive, but we have a lot of energy and a lot of talent and ability. If we align those resources we can do good things.”
Earlier this month, city officials passed out surveys to more than 120 residents, asking them what they think about historic preservation.
Some of the results served as talking points at Wednesday workshop.
Anyone interested in participating in the survey is encouraged to visit the city’s website to fill out the form.