45th Annual House and Garden Tour & Pre-Tour Talk

The Landmark Society’s 45th Annual House and Garden Tour Living on the Hilltops: Highland Heights and Highland Avenue East June 6 and 7, 2015

1660 Highland exterior front door bay_2

This year we are taking you to the top – the top of the Pinnacle Range. One of our area’s most prominent geological features, it’s a linear series of hills and knobs that extends from the Genesee River to Winton Road, including Mt. Hope, Pinnacle Hill and Cobbs Hill. It’s also one of the rare Rochester locations where you can enjoy homes in a hilltop setting. The tour will focus on the south side of Cobbs Hill, with residents on Highland Avenue, Highland Heights and Cobbs Hill Drive opening their doors for you. Eight private homes are on the tour – and only one has been open in the past.

1660 Highland street address sign_2We’re proud and honored that a private neighborhood in this area has agreed to welcome house tour visitors for the very first time. Highland Heights is a cluster of homes designed as a private enclave at the top of the hill. Two buildings will be open for us, including a spectacular Claude Bragdon-designed home.

5 Highland heights cottage facade_2

The homes on Highland Avenue and Cobbs Hill Drive are also sure to delight. If you are a fan of Tudor Revival, this is the tour for you – several houses exhibit this romantic style.   But this is not all “Tudor castles on a hill.” We’ve got an amazing Colonial Revival home that will transport you to the tidewater area of Virginia.  If you’re feeling in a mid-century modern mood, there’s a great architect-designed home built in 1950.

Part of the charm of this tour is that you’ll be able to stroll the sidewalks and enjoy the neighborhood, as most of the houses are within walking distance of each other. But as you might guess, there will be a bit of hill climbing; a few driveways are rather steep. Be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes!

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If you’ve never participated in the June tour, you’ll want to know that you can go at your own pace.  Your ticket booklet provides a map, descriptions of the house, and admission to each home for one visit. You may go in any order – you can even choose to visit some houses on Saturday and others on Sunday. Our tour headquarters will be in St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, a wonderful early 20th century Gothic Revival building. The church commissioned Pike Stained Glass to design, create and install 35 stained glass windows. Valerie O’Hara, owner and designer at Pike Stained Glass, will be on hand from noon to 2 pm each day to answer questions.

Pre-Tour Talk: will be Thursday, June 4th at 7 pm at St Thomas’ Episcopal Church.  “The UNnatural History of Cobbs Hill: How humans have shaped and reshaped beautiful Cobbs Hill. The talk is FREE to ticket holders – present your ticket at the talk, or pick up your pre-ordered ticket that evening.  Tour tickets may also be purchased that evening (if not sold out) or you may attend the talk only for $5.

Tour tickets available NOW! Click here to purchase your tickets online. 

Advance tickets for Landmark Society members are $18, available only directly from The Landmark Society on our website or by calling (585) 546-7029 x11. The nonmember advance price is $22, and may be purchased from us, or at Parkleigh, corner of Park Avenue and Goodman Street.  On the days of the tour, tickets for all will be $25, if we are not sold out.

We are grateful to the major House & Garden Tour Sponsors:

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PikeStainedGlass vertical house tour article

Reconnect Rochester wants to know: what could you do with a bus shelter?

Photo Courtesy Rick Urwin

Following the completion of the new RTS Transit Center, the bus shelters along Main Street will no longer be needed to provide shelter for passengers, and these retro beauties could be scraped. But we, citizens of Rochester, could change their fate!

Photo Courtesy Sharon Drummond

Reconnect Rochester has partnered with RGRTA and the City to solicit serious proposals for new uses for the former shelters;

Whatever your idea, write it up, include a drawing or two, and send it to info@reconnectrochester.org along with your contact information and a brief explanation.

Proposals should include:
• your name(s)
• your business or organization name
• contact information
• which shelter(s) you would like to use
• what purpose you would use the shelter for
• when you could start using it
• the length of time you’d use it for
• any other relevant details
• and any illustrations or drawings that might help explain your idea

Proposals will be reviewed by the City and then a meeting will be set up to discuss.

Even if you lack in the artistic department, they want your written idea anyway!

Read more about the shelters and see some ideas on Reconnect Rochester.

Agreeing with many of the comments already posted, a coffee kiosk could be an excellent new use. Here’s an inspiration from my vacation in Burlington, VT last summer.

bluebird coffee

This is such an exciting project to get the community inovlved in place making decisions, what would you do with a shelter?

Submit your ideas to info@reconnectrochester.org now. We can’t wait to see what Rochester comes up with!

#NYPresConf Session of the Week

The 2014 Statewide Preservation Conference theme is: FILL IN THE BLANK: Defining Preservation, A New York Statewide Conference. Join us in Rochester as we seek to expand the traditional definitions of preservation and to reach new audiences by challenging some of the common misconceptions about the field. We want to know what preservation means to you and what it could mean to others who are working to better their communities. So, join us in April to help Fill in the Blank.

Leading up to the Conference we’re featuring a Session of the Week to highlight one of our many sessions that are helping to broaden the definition of the field of preservation.

In celebration of the launch of our Young Urban Preservationists (YUP) group this week we are featuring a session from some fellow YUPs- Dana Saylor-Furman, Old Time Roots, Meagan Baco, HistPres.com and Benjamin Woelk- Co-Producer/Director of Slow Road Travel and their presentation Sneaky Preservation: Making Advocates through Emotional Experiences with Place.

Photo courtesy of John Carocci

Photo courtesy of John Carocci

Too often, preservationists face an uphill battle against unsympathetic government, new build-centric developers, and large organizations that don’t understand how historic buildings can fit into their portfolio of projects. What this requires is an engaged public, ready willing and able to stand firm for what is right and economically beneficial. However, if we can’t get people off their couch and out into the real world (Facebook slacktivism doesn’t count!), how can we make change?

Christa Glennie Seychew for Buffalo Spree Magazine

Christa Glennie Seychew for Buffalo Spree Magazine

This presentation will include success stories in engaging people in place through “sneaky preservation.” Much of the talk is inspired by lead presenter Dana Saylor’s experience as Event Planner for CITY of NIGHT at Buffalo’s grain elevators, where she realized the potential to change people’s mind about place by giving them an emotional or sentimental experience-based connection.

2014 City of Night event banner designed by Jon Furman

2014 City of Night event banner designed by Jon Furman

In Dana’s words:

Photo courtesy Dana Saylor-Furman

Photo courtesy Dana Saylor-Furman

I have learned a great deal about preservation through trying to save a building (that was ultimately demolished) and then, thoroughly demoralized, by avoiding preservation (by throwing a giant art party at Buffalo’s historic grain elevators). It was this avoidance that brought me full circle- to realize that my event, CITY of NIGHT, as it enters its third year, has transformed people and place, which is exactly the point of preservation, and good urbanism. Today, the relevance of the preservation movement is at stake; we must better learn how it can engage communities in new ways. This can be done by observing the successful work of people in cities, towns and rural areas, no matter how it is branded, and applying their lessons to what we all do.

This session is perfect for anyone with enthusiasm and passion for their community and its historic resources. Be prepared to discover outside-the-box ideas and inspiration for sharing your love of preservation and raising awareness throughout your community!

>>Click here to register now!

>>Click here to learn about other exciting session offerings.

>>Click here to read up on our other #NYPresConf sessions of the week.

Feeling social? Stay up to date on Conference happenings and share your thoughts using the hashtag #NYPresConf on Facebook and Twitter.

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Introducing the Young Urban Preservationists!

3.28graphic-edited2Introducing the Young Urban Preservationists! We are a new group of youngish folks interested in preservation and community revitalization. We come from various walks of life and various professions—lawyers, planners, doctors, veterinarians, architects, writers, artists—but we all have one thing in common: we care about our communities and we believe our historic resources play an important role in any community’s revitalization.

What does “young” mean? Whatever you want it to! We’re targeting those oft-maligned by the media “millenials” (aged 20 to about 40) but, more importantly, we want to connect with like-minded people who are invested in their communities and are young at heart.

Our kickoff event is at Black Button Distilling on Friday, March 28th. We’ll treat you to tours of the newly rehabbed historic space and some light hors d’oeuvres. Tastings of your choice of beer, wine, or liquor will be available for $5. Additional tastings for 50 cents.

Space is limited so reserve your spot now!
Eventbrite - Introducing The Landmark Society's Young Urban Preservationists!

#NYPresConf Session of the Week

The 2014 Statewide Preservation Conference theme is: FILL IN THE BLANK: Defining Preservation, A New York Statewide Conference. Join us in Rochester as we seek to expand the traditional definitions of preservation and to reach new audiences by challenging some of the common misconceptions about the field. We want to know what preservation means to you and what it could mean to others who are working to better their communities. So, join us in April to help Fill in the Blank.

Leading up to the Conference we’re featuring a Session of the Week to highlight one of our many sessions that are helping to broaden the definition of the field of preservation.

This week we’re featuring a brand new addition to the Preservation Conference for 2014; Saturday Field Sessions! Now get more great speakers for one price, plus exclusive tour opportunities. If you can’t join us for the Conference on Friday April 25th, you can still purchase a Saturday only ticket for only $45, which includes your choice of Field Sessions and our esteemed Breakfast Speaker, Ed McMahon on The Dollars and Sense of Preserving Community Character.

Renowned author and authority on sustainable development, Ed McMahon, will describe how communities can protect their most valuable assets—the vibrant downtowns, historic buildings, landscapes, and viewsheds that contribute to the historic character that attracts visitors, residents, and investors alike. The “Dollars and Sense of Preserving Community Character” will address downtowns and the transformation of the strip, and include how communities can grow without destroying their unique character. His talk will touch on historic preservation, new design, green space, community gateways and how small towns can be successful in a rapidly changing world.

After breakfast it’s time to head out into the city for your chosen field sessions. Here’s a taste of what you could experience firsthand!

Embracing Mid-Century Modern – Adaptive Re-Use of a 1960s Downtown Commercial Building, with Bero Architecture’s Katie Eggers Comeau and John Page
This session is a case study highlighting the successful adaptive reuse of the Central Trust Building.

Photo Credit Bero Architecture, PLLC

The project began with a long-vacant office/bank building and a development team with a vision of rehabilitating it using rehabilitation tax credits – despite the fact that SHPO was initially not convinced this unassuming Mid-Century Modern building was eligible for the National Register.

44 Exchange apt 502 living area overview

Photo Credit Bero Architecture, PLLC

Participants will tour the public spaces and a private apartment as the presenters describe how the development team, architects, and SHPO worked together to find solutions to ensure successful completion of the project.

Creating Sustainable Identity: The GardenAerial Project, with Michael A. Philipson, Benjamin Woelk, Maranne McDade Clay of Friends of the GardenAerial, and Christopher Brandt of Bero Architecture, PLLC
The city of Rochester is at a crossroads. The old positioning of the city is based on outmoded models of large corporate entities determining future paths. New positioning will require a re-thinking of Rochester itself and how we might get there through a change in perspective.

Photo Credit Friends of the GardenAerial

Photo Credit Friends of the GardenAerial

Friends of the GardenAerial (FoGA) will detail the varied work involved in the early stage implementation of the envisioning, fundraising, preservation, and development of partnerships that have led to the Friends of the GardenAerial’s early success in reclaiming public use and access of the High Falls Heritage Area, an urban historic cultural landscape in downtown Rochester, New York.

Planning the Future of a Historic Landscape: The Master Plan for Genesee Valley Park West, with Zakery D. Steele of Bayer Landscape Architecture, PLLC and Katie Eggers Comeau of Bero Architecture, PLLC
Frederick Law Olmsted declared the land that would become Genesee Valley Park an “almost ideal” pastoral park site – yet the factors that made the land appealing also made it a desirable location for later incompatible development.

Genesee Valley Park West Master Plan

This session will present the master plan process currently underway in Genesee Valley Park West as a case study in balancing historic integrity with modern needs of a regional-scale recreation park.

Genesee Valley Park West Master Plan

The case study provides an example of how Olmsted’s legacy is faring in present-day Rochester, and how Olmsted’s broad-minded principles can continue to provide inspiration in addressing today’s challenges.

Case Study: How to Create and Develop a Historic Building, with Peter R. Wehner and Christopher Montante of Passero Associates, and preservation consultant, Saralinda Hooker
This session will demonstrate how to take an old building and create a historically correct development project.  The Bridge Square project will be used as an example project and will review the process and lessons learned.

Photo Courtesy Don Corcoran Photography

Photo Courtesy Don Corcoran Photography

Bridge Square is an urban redevelopment project into a mixed use commercial building.  Issues discussed and topics covered will include: finding the right development mix; how to sensitively design a historic rehab project; hiring the right consultants; the SHPO approval process; tax credit financing options; dealing with IDA’s; and NYSERDA rebates and dealing with the consolidated funding application. Best of all, participants will enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of this unique and exciting rehab project in downtown Rochester.

A Slice of the Wedge: Revitalizing Rochester’s South Wedge Neighborhood, with Robert Boyd
This session will literally walk participants through the revitalization of Rochester’s eclectic South Wedge neighborhood.

Rochester_SouthAve_03-17-2011_10Participants will see firsthand how streetscape improvements, public art, historic rehab, sensitive modern infill, the investment of local businesses, and the involvement of an active and engaged citizenry, have combined to fuel the recent and ongoing revitalization of one of Rochester’s most sought-after neighborhoods. Participants will also see how these elements have created a unique sense of place and identify for the South Wedge, making it an appealing and economically viable neighborhood.

We hope you can join us on Saturday April 25, especially if you are not able to attend the full Conference on Friday, for this exciting day of speakers and field sessions!

>>Click here to register now!

>>Click here to learn about other exciting session offerings.

Feeling social? Stay up to date on Conference happenings and share your thoughts using the hashtag #NYPresConf on Facebook and Twitter.

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125 Years of Rochester’s Parks

Celebrate the 125th birthday of the Rochester park system. Katie Eggers Comeau will discuss her recent contribution to the journal Rochester History, tracing the city’s many parks from their 19th-century beginnings through the present. Learn about the fascinating backstory of old favorites, like Highland, Genesee Valley, and Seneca Parks, as well as such modern counterparts as Turning Point Park.

Genesee Valley Park

Genesee Valley Park

Katie Eggers Comeau is the architectural historian at Bero Architecture PLLC, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the National Association for Olmsted Parks. Prior to joining the Bero Architecture staff in 2010, she was the Director of Preservation Services at the Landmark Society of Western New York, where her projects included extensive documentation of and advocacy for Rochester’s historic park system. The lecture will be followed by a Question and Answer session. Copies of Comeau’s article will be for sale, and the author will be available to sign them.

Highland Park

Highland Park

>>Click here for the event flyer

Sunday, March 16 | 2:00-3:00 p.m. | Rundel Auditorium, 3rd floor, Rundel Memorial Building | Sponsored by the Local History & Genealogy Division of the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County. Call 585-428-8370 for more information.

125 Years of Rochester’s Parks

Genesee Valley Park

Genesee Valley Park

Celebrate the 125th birthday of the Rochester park system. Katie Eggers Comeau will discuss her recent contribution to the journal Rochester History, tracing the city’s many parks from their 19th-century beginnings through the present. Learn about the fascinating backstory of old favorites, like Highland, Genesee Valley, and Seneca Parks, as well as such modern counterparts as Turning Point Park. This presentation is free and open to the public.

Sunday, March 16 | 2:00-3:00 p.m. | Rundel Auditorium, 3rd floor, Rundel Memorial Building | Sponsored by the Local History & Genealogy Division of the Central Library of Rochester & Monroe County. Call 585-428-8370 for more information.

>>Click here to learn more

#NYPresConf Session of the Week

One of the primary goals of the 2014 Conference is to expand the traditional definitions of preservation and to reach new audiences by challenging some of the common misconceptions about the field. We also want to continue to engage new audiences who have a latent interest in preservation and revitalization but who may not identify themselves as “preservationists” per se. We want to know what preservation means to you and what it could mean to others who are working to better their communities. Leading up to the Conference we’re featuring a Session of the Week to highlight one of our many sessions that are helping to broaden the definition of the field of preservation.

This week’s featured session is Promote-Sustain-Preserve Our Regional Economy One Main Street At A Time.

The session will be led by:
WECA_NoAdress_Sml1309443091

389743_590148827668453_130623417_nRoxanne Kise has over thirty years of diverse experience in program development, promotion, communication, volunteer coordination, and municipal leadership that allows her to bring an outside of the box look at community development.

For the past two and half years, she has served as the Western Erie Canal Alliance Main Street Regional Coordinator/ Executive Director.  There she had developed coalitions and new partnerships that will enable Western Erie Canal Alliance to move Main Streets in the Western Erie Canal Heritage Corridor and the surrounding communities on a path to economic and cultural prosperity and sustainability.

Roxanne is a graduate of SUNY Morrisville.

Beth Kravetz has over 12 years of experience in the marketing and communication field.  She currently operates as a freelance marketing professional assisting her clients with their marketing strategy, branding, public relations and social media initiatives.  She also serves on the Board of Directors for Habitat for Humanity of Ontario County.

Ms. Kravetz is the project manager for the Western Erie Canal Alliance, assisting the Board of Directors and Main Street Executive Directors with the development and execution of their marketing plan that promotes the organization’s position as a conduit and partner to regional communities.

She received her B.A. from St. John Fisher College and her M.A. from the University of Phoenix.

lockport main streetHeather Peck is the program manager for Lockport Main St, Inc. – a not-for-profit agency that has been charged with promoting the city of Lockport, attracting new businesses to its downtown, and providing support to existing businesses.

A former college administrator and Red Cross official, Ms. Peck brings experience from both the not-for-profit and private sectors to the organization.  Previously serving as director of public relations and fund development for the Utica, N.Y. Chapter of the American Red Cross, Ms. Peck oversaw communications operations during relief efforts in Alabama and the Florida panhandle following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  She later administered a concurrent-enrollment program providing college-level classes to high school students in more than 20 school districts in Upstate New York.

She holds a master’s degree in communication from the University of Colorado, and completed her undergraduate studies at SUNY Binghamton.

albionKatelin Olson– The former Executive Director of the  Albion Main Street Alliance (2009-2013), Katelin is a historic preservationist focused on partnering building owners with economic development resources.  Katelin has a M.A. in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. at Cornell in the Department of City and Regional Planning.

lyonsmainstreetprogramJoan Delaro joined the Lyons Main Street Program, Inc. in July, 2013 as Program Manager.  Prior to this position Joan worked as Project Manager for the Western Erie Canal Alliance.  She visited the communities along the Erie Canal through the counties of Wayne, Monroe, Orleans, Niagara and Erie. Along with enjoying the small canal villages Joan gained knowledge of the historic communities, their value to our modern life and preservation of our heritage.  This position gave her experience with the National Trust Main Street Program ™.  With a background in tourism, Joan understands the importance of preservation and promotion of the whole community. As owner of Glacier Lakes Tours, a receptive tour company for the Finger Lakes Region, she leaned the ups and downs of a small business.  Joan’s experience in the business community has given her a personal insight into running a business and how important community involvement and promotion needs to be.

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Main Street in Albion, NY

Western Erie Canal Alliance (WECA) recognizes ongoing Main Street and Community Development as a building block in the preservation of New York State’s unique historic landscape.

A boat on the Erie Canal in Clyde, NY.

A boat on the Erie Canal in Clyde, NY.

Healthy communities revolve around healthy main streets and encourage preservation of their historic assets as an integral part of their economic development.

The Palace Theatre, Lockport, NY

WECA will give an overview of key strategies for communities to develop healthy Main Streets through historic preservation/revitalization, grass roots organization and participation, progressive economic sustainability and strategic regional and community marketing.

The Erie Canal sets New York State, especially Western New York, apart with its unique history and geographic footprint. It is a resource that is helping to redefine preservation and serves as an enormous catalyst for revitalization. This session would be great for municipal leaders of all communities (not just Canal towns!), small business owners, civic activists, or tourism professionals.

>>Click here to register for the Conference now at special early bird pricing until April 1st!

>>Click here to learn about other exciting session offerings.

Feeling social? Stay up to date on Conference happenings and share your thoughts using the hashtag #NYPresConf on Facebook and Twitter.

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St. Joseph’s Park park now available for your special occasions!

St. Joseph’s Park is the Perfect Location for your Special Occasion!

Photo Credit: Richard Margolis

One of Rochester’s best-kept secrets will be available for the community to enjoy again, after being closed for many years.  In a partnership with Bella and Co., The Landmark Society will be renting out this beautiful urban park for photo shoots, weddings and other celebrations.

Photo Credit: John Schlia

Due to the generosity of the Rochester Area Community Foundation, the Davenport-Hatch Foundation and Ted Collins Tree and Landscape as well as the hard work of Landmark staff and volunteers, many will enjoy the site more in the future.  Public events are also in the planning stages to introduce this unique architectural venue to varied audiences.

Photo Credit: John Schlia

St. Joseph’s Park can accommodate 125 guests for a wedding ceremony.  Please contact Jenna Knauf at jenna@bellaandco.com, 585.943.0796 for rates and dates.

New Perspectives on an Old Bridge

by Wayne Goodman

The photographs presented in Richard Margolis’s new book on the Hojack Swing Bridge (The Hojack Swing Bridge Its History–and Its Future) provide the reader not only with an incredible history, but they also provide the reader with a unique opportunity to view this historic bridge in different settings and from varied perspectives. Whether the photos are historic or modern, color or black and white, panoramic or detailed, they gives us the ability to see and contemplate this resource in diverse conceptions. It is this very paradigm—seeing the bridge in various perspectives—that is most important today. It is now more important than ever to consider this bridge in alternative “views.”

The most recent discussion about the bridge’s uncertain future has alarmed The Landmark Society of Western New York. Perhaps surprisingly to some, it is not merely the possibility of removal that is most disturbing, but it is the fact that no creative options have ever been fully discussed or considered to see this bridge in an innovative way. There have been no formal negotiations to consider the possibilities of how this resource could be reinvented or reconceived in a new use, instead of remaining what some consider a rusting eyesore. Knee-jerk conclusions have been drawn before any true thought has been given to options.

Contemporary historic preservation philosophy realizes that our historic structures are not only preserved for history’s sake, but they are preserved to further economic development opportunities, to create jobs, to retain an area’s unique sense of place, to encourage tourism and to add an irreplaceable element of community enhancement. At its core is the need to be creative with our old and often forgotten or neglected historic structures. Adaptation, reuse potential, contextual design and community input are all vital in investigating the feasibility of preserving a historic resource.

In his new book, Richard Margolis has clearly and painstakingly demonstrated this resource’s significance – a resource that is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. While there are those they may not “like” the bridge’s appearance or its location, the fact remains that this is a very rare and significant historic structure. It is a resource that very few communities possess. It is part of our identity. Rare and unique resources provide us the opportunity to set ourselves apart. In an era that is witnessing a rejection of uniformity in community design, this bridge gives us the ability to potentially make Hojack a great, historic and unique asset.

Can the bridge be adapted to serve a new purpose? Can creative design make it an attractive feature that all would hold dear? Could the bridge be an incredibly unique component to a revitalized harbor community? What are the cost comparisons to full removal, potential relocation or stabilization and restoration? These and other questions have never even been fully discussed with the Coast Guard, CSX Railroad, the City of Rochester and organizations and businesses that have a stake in the area, despite calls for such action. These discussions should take place before hasty decisions lead to the loss of a resource that can never be replaced. In the end, can the bridge be saved and reused in some capacity for some unique use? No one knows. That is the point – no one knows. We need to know.

The Landmark Society’s greatest fear is that an impulsive decision based on no creativity, with no chance to even deliberate possibilities, will lead to a loss that may not be necessary. And, not unlike other architectural losses in Rochester’s past that we now view as unbelievably poor decisions, this decision will almost immediately be regretted and lamented. Let us all be dedicated in ensuring that immediate regret does not happen yet again. The final outcome for this bridge’s future should be reached only after sincere and diligent attempts are exercised to find any viable options.

Stay tuned. I encourage everyone interested in how Western New York’s heritage can lead to a more prosperous future to follow this situation and become involved by letting your voice be heard. Before we once again lose such a resource, thorough and genuine examination of options is not too much to ask.

Wayne is Executive Director of The Landmark Society.