Yesterday, the Penn Yan Village Board upheld a decision by the Historic Preservation Commission and refused to allow a Penn Yan homeowner to put vinyl siding on his historic house.
The members of the Penn Yan Village Board understand that tourist won’t stop in a village to see an old house coved in cheap vinyl siding. But they will stop and spend their money in a village that preserves and honors its historic heritage.
Tourists understand how much work goes into scraping and painting wooden clapboards and shingles. That’s why those houses are so beautiful, and that’s why tourists are willing to pay good money to stop in a village that preserves that heritage. When will the members of the Brockport Village Board realize that?
In a related story this week, the New York State Barge Canal was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The designation recognizes the New York State Canal System as a nationally significant work of nineteenth century and early twentieth century engineering and construction that affected transportation and maritime commerce for nearly a century.
The 450-mile long Barge Canal, which follows the route of the enlarged Erie Canal, allows cargo ships and recreational vessels to travel east and west through New York state between Waterford (on the Hudson River just north of Albany) and Buffalo on Lake Erie. The canal also has access points at Whitehall, Oswego and Waterloo through the smaller and less well known Champlain, Oswego, and Cayuga-Seneca canals, all of which are almost, but not quite, as historic as the Erie Canal.
Adding the Erie Canal to the National Register of Historic Places gives Brockport a great opportunity to increase tourism in the village. Visit Brockport, the beautiful historic village on the Erie Canal.
But Brockport has already let too many historic houses be converted to run-down college rentals with dumpsters in the expanded driveways or the parking lots that used to be back yards. Too many historic houses have already been covered with cheap vinyl siding.
Joni Mitchell said it all in Big Yellow Taxi.
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
Big Yellow Taxi
We have a boutique or two, so all we need now is a pink hotel and a spa, to go along with the “Swinging hot spot” at Rocco’s.
It is time to follow the leadership of people like Pam Ketchum, who are working to preserve Brockport’s historic heritage. Pam is on the same page as the Penn Yan Village Board and the Penn Yan Historic Preservation Commission. It’s good business to preserve the historic heart of the village.
In a strange quirk of fate, two typos that happened while writing this article sum it all up. The first typo was Crockport and the second typo was Brockpoet.
Those two words say it all. Do you want to live in Crockport or do you want to live in Brockpoet? It’s entirely up to you.