Saturday, January 9, 2010

Asbury Park's Historian - In His Own Words

Thought you might find this comment, in Historian Werner Baumgartner's own words posted on Yahoo, an interesting perspective:
I read with great interest the recent articles in the Tri-City News and Coaster regarding the Elk's Lodge (Charms) demolition and the state of redevelopment,preservation etc. There was a time when the City acknowledged the official position of City Historian whose responsibilities included advising the governing body and boards on preservation, planning and heritage economics. The City Historian attended all meetings, sat on committees, traveled to conferences and training seminars on a State and National level at his own expense. All to bring state of the art information and experience into all processes to make Asbury park a better place and not lose its identity in the while looking to the future.
The City received positive media attention as a result of the Historian's efforts, changed some internal practices for the better and generally started to adopt a better image of its own history.
Then a New City Manager came to power, a New Council took office and all the gains were erased, history was scoffed at, the Historian's recommendations were ignored, the Historical Society was taken over by a council member, the Official City Historian was exiled.
Developers started to decide what was best for the City, SoHo meets South Beach they said. No need for wide streets, the circuit, the Albion, the Casino, the Palace, the 1888 Carousel House, public spaces.....No need for timetables or performence bonds they said... Trust us... 3000+Condos and a shopping mall on the Boardalk. Out with the old in with the new.
Curious how the media now laments the loss of Asbury Park's character and architectural icons and claims there was no one advocating for the City's preservation.

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