Historical District Forum Opens Lines of Communication

Many residents living in the Poplar Springs historical district have made it clear they want to see the area preserved and say they do not feel that is happening now. Dozens filled the third floor of Meridian City Hall to give their opinion on how the historical Popular Springs district should be managed.

"And discuss the possibilities of moving forward into either a local ordinance or either moving it into a neighborhood association," Mayor Cheri Barry says.

Right now, the district is a nationally registered district, which officials say essentially means there is little to no enforcement on changes residents can make to the exterior of their property. City councilman Bobby Smith has proposed changing the district to a locally controlled one, meaning city council members would appoint officials to supervise any exterior property changes. A representative from the historic preservation commission says that would create a number of restrictions.

"If you wanted to paint your house at the present, you could make it whatever color you wanted it to," according to Bob Bresnahan with the Historic Preservation Commission. "If you have a building downtown, we have to approve it. Now, we're not in the business of saying no, that's the end of it. We try to be reasonable about it."

Mayor Cheri Barry says she would like to see less involvement from city officials.

"So I hope that we will be able to look at different ways to put together a neighborhood association that can be governed by a board of directors within this district," Barry says.

Some residents were open to the possibility of a neighborhood association, while others had concerns.

"This association, what kind of teeth does it have," one resident asked.

Barry says she thinks the key to reaching an agreement is to start in small steps.

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