Vermont Advocates Respond to Inclusion of Four Vermont Towns on 2018 List of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places
June 26, 2018 – Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed the central Vermont towns of Royalton, Sharon, Strafford, and Tunbridge on its annual watchlist of endangered places. The decision comes on the heels of a Utah-based developer’s ongoing proposal to construct NewVistas, a planned community he envisions will attract tens of thousands of new residents to the four-town region of Vermont. So far, the developer has acquired over 1,500 acres in the area.
The Vermont Natural Resources Council and the Preservation Trust of Vermont, along with a wide range of other local and state partners, continue working together to lead advocacy to stop the planned development, under expectation that the development would irreversibly disrupt the character of this rural Vermont area, historic and otherwise.
“The NewVistas development threatens to ruin the natural and historic features of this region that connect the people to the land and sustain the local economy: historic village centers, forestland, and farmland,” said Michael Sacca, President of the Alliance for Vermont Communities. “Today’s watchlist recognition is critical to raising public awareness across the state, region, and nation about how important it is to prevent NewVistas from coming to life, in order to sustain our efforts to conserve Vermont’s land and historic treasures.”
“The decision to place Royalton, Sharon, Strafford, and Tunbridge on a national watchlist of endangered places eliminates any doubt that the NewVistas development proposal poses a significant threat, not only to these four small rural communities, but also to the surrounding region,” said Brian Shupe, Executive Director of the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC).
“Having NewVistas recognized as a nationally significant challenge by the National Trust for Historic Preservation is an important step in helping the developer understand that his idea is a bad one for Vermont,” said Paul Bruhn, Executive Director of the Preservation Trust of Vermont. “I hope he is listening!”
For just the third time in the history of the list, the 2018 11 Most includes a 12th site placed on “Watch Status.” Watch Status means that a specific threat to a historic site appears to be growing, but can be avoided or controlled through collaboration and innovation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places is run annually to raise awareness of historic sites at risk from neglect, deterioration, lack of maintenance, insufficient funds, inappropriate development or insensitive public policy. The list has been one of the most successful tools in the fight to save America’s irreplaceable architectural, cultural, and natural heritage. Learn more here: [Boston Globe June 26]