While the historic agreement to save Concord's Gasholder is good news all around, it caps off a decade of loss. Sadly many of the historic structures that Concord has lost over the past decade have been housing, and in most cases they have been replaced with parking lots. From the former League headquarters on Main Street, to houses near the hospital, to dozens of homes near the McAuliffe School, to homes around Main Street, too many historic homes have fallen to make way for more parking. And now we face a severe housing crisis, and all those lost homes, renovated, could have contributed to solve our desperate need for workforce housing. Concord spent millions to build one of the best Main Streets in all of Northern New England, one that has attracted lots of development in the form of new housing - alas some of that has been too cookie cutter corporate in design, or in the case of the former DES building, not unlike a highway Best Western.
The future of our Main Street historic fabric is at stake. Profit minded developers or companies can ask to demolish wonderful historic buildings with the premise that they are "too old or too hard to save." If we put today's profits ahead of tomorrow's tourism, then we fail to do the math on what makes people want to shop, dine, stay and invest in Concord. It's time to discuss local historic preservation laws, the kind that safeguard future economic growth and stop the greedy or short sighted from permanently damaging our past and our future.