H-Words: ‘Heritage’ and ‘Historic’
Are They History?
Winter Park’s Visioning Task force has spent more than a year coming up with a vision of how the City will grow and develop. Among the exercises the Task Force conducted was a survey in which citizens were asked what, about Winter Park, was most important to them. The results are illustrated in the graph below. “History/Heritage” beat every other descriptor hands down.
Draft Vision Statement: No Heritage There
Yet, in the final draft of their report to the Commission, the Visioning Task Force removed the word Heritage from the city’s vision statement. Winter Park went from being “The City of Culture and Heritage” to being “The City of Arts and Culture. . . .”
Historic Districts: Ever More Difficult
Meanwhile, on March 15, after running on a one-plank platform of property rights, Peter Weldon was elected to the City Commission. Throughout his campaign, Weldon promised to undo the combined work of the Citizens Committee on Historic Preservation and the Historic Preservation Board, whose members had worked for more than a year to craft a revised Historic Preservation Ordinance. The Commission had approved the revised ordinance in November 2015.
That ordinance lasted a little more than six months. On May 23, the voting threshold for formation of an historic district was restored. The votes required went from 50 percent plus one to two-thirds. The revised ordinance makes designation of historic districts in Winter Park more difficult than in any other Florida city.
Voluntary Historic Designation ‘Encouraged’ . . .
The amended ordinance calls for the City to publish a list of properties which either carry historic designation or are located in an historic district, so that prospective buyers will have prior knowledge of what they are getting into if they purchase a house that has been designated or is located in an historic district. It also contains language about “encouraging voluntary participation.”
Toward that end, Commissioner Weldon drew up a list of six suggested encouragements, which the Historic Preservation Board (HPB) met to discuss in a June 22 work session. Proposed incentives include reducing or waiving building permit fees, waiving the fee to underground utility service, small need-based rehabilitation grants, ornamental streetlights for districts, a complicated ‘transfer of development rights’ and staff assistance with National Register applications.
City Planning Director Dori Stone told the HPB there is a total of $50,000 in the City budget for historic preservation incentives. Stone stated that historic preservation, especially updating the Florida Master Site File (an inventory of properties that have been or could be designated historic) will “definitely take a back seat” to the upcoming Comprehensive Plan review.
“Words Do Matter,”
. . . one Voice reader posted on this website. And these words – history and heritage – are still important to those who call Winter Park home. At the June 27 Commission meeting, Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel called on the City to celebrate her heritage. Sprinkel was talking about citizens and their contributions to the City. “Heritage is more than a building,” she said. And to Sprinkel, Winter Park’s heritage is important and worthy of a celebration.
Another way Winter Park could celebrate her heritage is to restore the word heritage to the Winter Park Vision Statement. The final draft of Vision Winter Park will come before the Commission at its next meeting on July 11.
City staff and members of the Visioning Task Force have spent a great deal of time meeting with and listening to the citizens.
Did they hear?
The restoration of this small word, which has no fiscal impact, would carry a great deal of weight with the citizens of Winter Park.
The two definitions that I found for heritage define it as 1. Property that can be passed down from previous generations. 2 Status gained by a person through birth. 3. Tradition.
It does not mention wonderful people in my dictionary. I am interested to know how the people are to be celebrated.
I have heard the mayor and commissioners affirm that they are historic preservationists. I would like to know how we are to know that. What are they doing to promote historic preservation? If one is not in favor of it…just say so. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. I would like to know the location of the historic properties that the mayor has stated that he owns.
I would be happy to work as a volunteer on a dynamic database of these properties for the city. Please call or email me if I can help!
Interesting that Safety/Security didn’t rate very high.
That proves that the survey results don’t represent a valid sample of residents. No resident I know of wouldn’t list a safe community as among their top most important picks.
This looks more like the only people who bothered to complete the survey were historic preservation enthusiasts and real estate developers.
If I’m wrong, there’s absolutely no point in funding the police and fire departments any longer. Take that money and build castles in the sky as additions to Gamble Rogers homes.
Is that a voice in the wilderness? Or does it belong to a person?
Is this response on topic? Or off topic?
The term “heritage”—as oppose to art or culture– implies more than merely preserving and restoring old things. Heritage can include monuments, buildings, inherited traditions, ideas and memories that a community selects out from its past as valuable in identifying and defining itself. It can be an important platform for community dialogue, reflection, and future planning.
When Loring Chase and Oliver Chapman put together early Winter Park, they advertized saying it was to be “a first-class place for the Northern and Southern men of wealth.” And they wanted a name to be something about a park in the winter. That legacy of elegance and charm continues on as our heritage, not our art or culture.
When Charles Morse donated his 10-acres, which later became Winter Park’s Central Park, he did so with a proviso. Forever, it was to be a park. That on-going commitment by a benefactor has become our heritage, not merely our art or culture.
Member, WP Historic Association, UCF professor emeritus, and helped produce three historic films about WP.
During the visioning process, the top four values expressed by the citizens who participated in the process were, in priority order: history/heritage; village ambiance/small town feel; proactive growth/future; and inclusiveness. The vision statement that resulted from the process fails to reflect the value that participants cherish above all others, “history and heritage”:
“Winter Park is the city of arts and culture, cherishing its traditional scale and charm while building a healthy and sustainable future for all generations.”
I am in favor of a small revision to the vision statement: “Winter Park is the city of culture and heritage…” for a number of reasons.
First, it reflects the value held most dear by Winter Park citizens. This definition of heritage from the Cambridge Dictionary I believe sums up this value: “features belonging to the culture of a particular society such as its traditions, language, or buildings that come from its past and are still important.”
Second, nearly every definition of culture I could find included “art” in it. To say that Winter Park is the city of “arts and culture” is silly and redundant.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it avoids making a mockery of the visioning process. Another major value expressed in the visioning process is inclusiveness. I and other citizens of Winter Park who expressed what is important to us are being decidedly excluded when our voices are ignored.
Well, the plan was to call Winter Park “City of Development and Developers.”
Second draft was “City of Development and Culture.”
But somebody noted that it might fool more people to use the word “Arts” as a code word for development, so that’s what was done.