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Bergen County Historical Society Promotes Preservation in all 72 Communities in Bergen County

H Gelfand, Bergen County Historical Society Historic Preservation Committee

Replying to “Anonymous arm chair Monday morning quarterback , who promotes overdevelopment and high density housing”:

As a member of the BCHS committee that helped to raise attention to the issue of the Van Zile House a year ago I have these questions:
1, what if anything did you do? Did you attend governmental meetings in Midland Park and hold the politicians accountable for not creating and enforcing a local historic preservation ordinance? Did you speak up? If the house was as you suggest for sale and falling apart for a decade, the reason you spoke up a decade ago and helped find a non-demolition solution is ______?
2, as a volunteer organization, we rely on volunteers, meaning people like you. Did you step up to volunteer for ours or another organization that might have helped to save the house?
3, our committee attempts to promote preservation in all 72 communities in Bergen County. Has it occurred to you how difficult it is for a small group of volunteers to keep track of all historic properties in all 72 municipalities? You did or did not alert BCHS about your concerns over the Van Zile House in 2009?
It is of course easy for you to Monday morning quarterback. It is of course just as easy for you to become part of the solution. Maybe in the future you can divert your energy to coming up with positive solutions, voicing your concerns to elected officials, insisting that your municipalities create and enforce historic preservation ordinances, and help to ensure the successful survival of a nearly 300-year old house rather than criticizing those of us who tried?

One thought on “Bergen County Historical Society Promotes Preservation in all 72 Communities in Bergen County

  1. 1, what if anything did you do?
    Nothing.
    But then again, it is not MY charter to preserve the stone houses in Bergen County
    .
    2, as a volunteer organization, we rely on volunteers, meaning people like you. Did you step up to volunteer for ours or another organization that might have helped to save the house?
    No.
    But then again, it is NOT my volunteer organization. It is not MY responsibility to recruit volunteers for the cause of saving stone houses in Bergen County. Perhaps there is a leadership and/or focus and/or determiniation problem at your organization.
    .
    3, our committee attempts to promote preservation in all 72 communities in Bergen County. Has it occurred to you how difficult it is for a small group of volunteers to keep track of all historic properties in all 72 municipalities? You did or did not alert BCHS about your concerns over the Van Zile House in 2009?
    No, it did not occur to me.
    And I did not alert you.
    Then again, it is not my desire to keep track of all historic properties nor to promote preservation in Bergen County.
    .
    Rather than blaming others for your failure to fulfill your mission, perhaps you should look inward and work to solve your organizations problems. You are failing at YOUR charter of preservation in Bergen County.
    Perhaps you need to improve your outreach and education.
    Perhaps you need to improve your recruitment strategy.
    Perhaps you need to find ways to increase your budget.
    Perhaps you need to find ways to be more efficient in tracking all historic properties in Bergen County
    – Maybe use technology
    – Maybe use social media
    – Maybe work with the administation in all 72 municipalities
    – Maybe work with realtors or neighborhood groups
    – etc, etc, etc…
    .
    BUT the one this you SHOULD NOT do is to blame and shame others for your failure to fulfill your charter… for that is the best way to ensure your future and continuing failure.
    .

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