It was a small but earnest group that gathered at the Slate Valley Museum last Thursday to discuss the future of Granville’s past.
The meeting was the first reorganizational meeting of the former Granville Heritage Society, which faded out several years ago. Former Planning Board Chair Lee Comar initiated the effort in response to recent issues with historic buildings in the area.
Town Supervisor Matt Hicks started the meeting by thanking Comar and addressing him.
“From the town’s standpoint, I would ask you to consider two things: One, do a survey to identify and list similar historic structures, and two if they’re important or in danger, put together a plan to see what we can do,” Hicks said. “Maybe there are other buildings in peril, maybe there aren’t, but let’s find out and develop a plan to see if there’s anything we can do about it.”
Comar was on board with Hicks’ request and had other ideas as well.
“We should be illuminating this history to all the citizens to help them understand how valuable it is. I’d like to reframe the Heritage Society to get it going,” he said.
By the end of the meeting, those in attendance had agreed to form three committees for ease of meeting and focus, including a fundraising committee, a public relations committee and a survey committee.
While a survey already exists, former town historian Edith Sparling said it is important it be revised.
“Once all this was started at that end of Quaker—that’s not going to be the beginning and end of it. The neighborhood is changing, and if you want to have your input you have to do something,” she said. “Planning means planning ahead; this is what the future is.”
Gigi Zeitler, a local artist who was at the meeting, agreed.
“If you don’t have a master plan that’s a goal you’re working toward, it’s going to be haphazard,” she said. Comar pointed out that Granville gets a lot of pressure for building, and that there is a need for committees to focus on where the next development area will be.
As far as spreading awareness of Granville’s history, the group hopes to start the process of writing a new book. Pember Library Director Ardyce Bresett said the last history of Granville is from 1878.
“It’s like a house—you want to keep the original features, but it needs to be updated and added to,” Sparling said about the history book. In order to raise funds for creating an updated version, the group discussed making copies of and selling the current book. They talked about making and selling a calendar of historic buildings, houses or churches around town as well.
Also discussed was the revival of former initiatives, such as historic markers, house tours and an inventory of historic spots.