Protecting historic properties is a worthy goal, especially for the Lincoln County community and its rich history. Preservation proposals should be viewed in a positive light. But the recent recommendation by downtown development leaders to relocate a decaying structure known as the Wright House from North Aspen Street to a location on South Aspen Street seems a stretch for taxpayer money. This home was built in the 1920s or earlier and features architectural details of the period. The house is currently in danger of demolition because of the new City Hall expansion.
Barry Matherly, executive director of the Lincoln Economic Development Association and chairman of the Downtown Development Associationâ€™s Economic Restructuring Work Group, presented the Lincolnton City Council with the idea last week.
But so far, the only reason we have heard for the preservation effort is to protect these architectural features. We couldnâ€™t even find a listing of this property in Lincolnâ€™s popular historical reference book, Our Enduring Past.
Apparently there are other issues here, relating to expenses involved if the house were to remain, and some future DDA plans at the proposed new site. It would seem that the city needs some other reasons to undertake this effort beyond historic preservation.
We lament the failure of some past preservation efforts that were unquestionably valid, such as the Mooreâ€™s Chapel AME Zion Church. This historic worship place for Lincoln Countyâ€™s African American community was originally established in 1863. There was a serious effort to preserve this very important piece of history. Itâ€™s very unfortunate that it failed.
The selection of preservation projects is a difficult chore. We urge city and county officials to weigh all circumstances and to make sure we donâ€™t overlook an obvious treasure while taking a critical look at projects that have little historical significance.