The readers’ forum

Save community’s historic homes


Re the Feb. 13 story ‘Real Housewives’ star and husband can tear down historic home: As president of the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables, it is disappointing to read about yet another architecturally significant home to be lost to the wrecking ball.

This home is at 42 Star Island, built in 1925 and designed by Florida’s first registered architect, Walter DeGarmo. The reason the home can be razed? It was never designated historic, therefore unable to be “saved.” The Miami Beach City Commision rejected preservationists’ plea to protect the home and declare it historic.

One of our group’s founding board members and veteran preservation professional, Ellen Uguccioni, makes a poignant observation about this repeating theme: “This story is a recurring one because of a lack of maintenance and no code enforcement. I have been working with students on a historic survey this year and it is estimated that only 2 percent of the historically eligible homes have actually been officially designated.

“The point is that the municipal offices charged with preservation programs need our help. When a building appears to be visually significant and is vacant, chances are that the owner is unable, unwilling or savvy enough to allow the property to deteriorate beyond a reasonable point at which it can be rehabilitated without destroying the property by the necessity to add structural systems, etc. I am sure we have all heard opponents to designation say, ‘Well if it is so important, why did not they designate it before the 11th hour?’ I do not have the answer, I am simply frustrated.”

The answer? Historic designation should be a proactive process and not a reactive one. Historic designation should be a priority for any municipality, not an afterthought. Historic designation should be embraced, not rejected.

History repeats itself. Help preserve it.

Karelia Martinez Carbonell, president, Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • The readers’ forum

    Preliminary library tax rate must survive

    County commissioners praised the hundreds of residents who descended upon Government Center recently to plead for a $64 million library budget for the coming year. Commissioners settled on a less ambitious course, approving a slight increase above Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s recommended tax rate to avert further service cuts and layoffs of an additional 90 librarians.

  • A very liveable city

    Re the July 21 article Car-free and frustrated: I, too, live in Brickell and I have been delighted with the wonderful transportation system in downtown Miami. I can easily get to the University of Miami hospitals, the airport, the Arsht Center, the museums and hundreds of great restaurants. And when the new Brickell City Center opens, with its great shops, it will be even better. I almost never use my car.

  • Immigration reform

    Re the July 18 editorial, Follow the law: We should rescue some valid assertions. First, we all should know why so much insecurity exists in Central America.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category