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Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Our little delegation just returned from Medina this afternoon.  Attendees were:
Connie Pastor, Iwana Wagner, Chuck Gleaves, Marge Cutnaw, Ellen Haring and myself from the Historic Preservation Commission, Mayor Culliver, and Jamie Thompson from Downtown Mansfield Inc.
Roger Smalley of the Community Design Committee talks to our group.

If this bandstand looks familiar, it's because Medina's is a replica of the Bellville gazebo.  Medina's central park is unclutered, which has been the result of a concerted effort to maintain a Victorian style park, with no evergreens or shrubs to block the view through it.  One stone memorial to the man who donated the land for the park, and a granite drinking fountain memorial are the only two monuments.  Other memorials and monuments in Medina have been located elsewhere over the years, but the park has been relatively un-spoiled.

Most of the credit for the successful effort in Medina stem from the CDC's efforts to give property owners a preview of what restoration will look like.  When property owners are planning restorations and new work, the CDC provides color architectural renderings of the building in question to influence the property owners choices.  This has worked and has driven many of the restorations, giving the Square an artistic, variegated color rhythm complementing the historic preservation approach. 

This building from the 1980s was designed by Mansfield architect Robert Soulen.

The old court house and its newer additions dominate the block opposite the east side of the Square.

The Public Square District includes the 8 blocks surrounding the Square, plus the Square itself.  A committee of 5 people have the design review authority for exterior changes...the same process rendered by our own Preservation Commission.  Medina's Preservation Ordinance is modeled very simiilar to Mansfield's.  One of our reasons for looking at Medina was to see how our own efforts with the Central Park Historic District here might achieve the kind of cooperation and unity of purpose that has developed in Medina.

Major highways crossing through the Square create a noisy, but busy atmosphere. 

Our meeting over lunch clearly revealed that there is a great spirit of cooperation in Medina between the Community Design Committee, Preservation Commission, Main Street, Administration, and city Department of Development.  In effect, everyone "gets it", in that they understand the economic benefits of preserving the Public Square area.  Preservation advocates have encountered the same opposition and roadblocks that we all have to deal with in these efforts, but today there is ample proof in the validity of the approach.

Attending our lunch meeting and discussion were Mayor Dennis Hanwell, City Planning Director Greg Hannan, Main Street Director Matt Wiederhold, Roger Smalley of CDC, and Economic Development Director Tom Krueger. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

medina trip

The Preservation Commission is taking a daytrip over to Medina Public Square this Wednesday, July 28. Our purpose is to visit the Public Square Historic District and find out more about the Community Design Committee's role in establishing the district and administering design review. We're meeting over lunch with Medina city officials who are involved with the Public Square. I'd like to document the trip and provide feedback via this blog, so watch for that later in the week.