A history New Castle can be proud of

Editor, The News:

New Castle has a history we can all be proud of. Our past defines who we are and is reflected in the buildings and landscape all around us. Many people are working hard to improve New Castle and make it into a city we can once again be proud of. But what kind of future will we have if we lose our rich past?

Our city’s North Hill Historic District is the third-largest historic district in the state. A National Register-listed district is a point of pride for any community, but outside developers are now trying to compromise the district’s integrity with a commercial variance and a goal of building of a Dollar General store on Highland Avenue. Changing the zoning is a major defacement of this cultural asset. 

Of course, everyone wants economic development in our city. Numerous studies have shown historic preservation to be an asset, not an obstacle, for economic growth. In fact, in 2016 the city hired the firm Urban Design Ventures to study ways to attract new business to our community. Their final report praised the North Hill district as a significant advantage, and recommended working with the Historical Society to further preserve and promote the city’s history.

The Lawrence County Historical Society’s mission is to cultivate and foster community interest in local history and its preservation. Therefore, we believe that instead of continuing to compromise New Castle’s assets for supposed quick fixes, we should all work to ensure our past plays a key role in making our city a healthy, vibrant community for everyone.

Robert Waddington

Board president

Lawrence County Historical Society

(This letter also was signed by each member of the Historical Society’s board of directors)

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