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LETTER: McVictorian Issues


To The Editors--

I was struck by Emily Grove’s characterization in the Monday, October 8 edition of CM Life of Olivieri Management’s continued despoliation of downtown Mt. Pleasant as an effort to “beautify the community.”

I own a historic home in a north High Street neighborhood, and have watched in shock as old houses south of M-20 have been razed and replaced by “McVicorians,” cheaply built structures quickly assembled from pre-fab materials then given a veneer of historicity with the addition of shutters and decorative brick. This is allowed by the Mt. Pleasant Planning Commission because so many older houses close to campus have been damaged by years of student abuse. It would be better to control land acquisition and rental properties in these neighborhoods.

There are rental properties in my neighborhood to, but due to distance from campus and a greater number of historic sites, we haven’t had to suffer the curse of developer taste. There have even been victories, like the property on the corner of Locust and University that was damaged by a now defunct fraternity that was recently purchased and is being reconverted to a single-family home.

Mt. Pleasant has made strides in its efforts to preserve its past, as evidenced by the restoration of the Borden Building and the Ann Arbor Station, but modest single-family swellings from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century also need protection. More needs to be done to arrest the creep of the Lowes and Home Depot style. The community’s architectural legacy deserves better.

 

David Stairs

Professor

Art & Design

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