Park Service Official Attending Village Meet
A representative from the National Park Service will be on hand for a presentation to the Pinehurst Village Council on the proposed changes to the Village Green this week.
The meeting will be held at 1 p.m. today (Wednesday) at Village Hall.
Christine Arato, a senior historian with the Park Service, confirmed by phone Monday that she would be at the meeting to serve in a "consultative, not punitive," role.
"We are there to answer any questions the council or anyone else may have," Arato said.
The Green is part of the Pinehurst Historic District, which was designated a National Historic Landmark (NHL) in 1996. The National Park Service, which oversees the landmarks, has placed the village landmark on a "watch list" after learning of the construction of the disputed Carolina Vista roundabout and the proposed changes to the Village Green.
Dan Scheidt, chief of the Cultural Resources Division for the southeast region of the National Park Service, wrote a letter to Mayor George Lane expressing the agency's reservations about the proposal.
The letter asks the village to submit proposed plans to the Park Service for review so it could assist in determining the best course of action for the property.
Arato said Monday that her organization has yet to see any drawings, and the Park Service is concerned that the project design phase was moving quickly.
"We are all on the same side," Arato said. "We want to preserve the resource and not damage it."
Some residents oppose any changes to the Village Green outside of improved maintenance of the trees and paths and the installation of benches and trash receptacles.
The visit from a Park Service representative is rare, because of the organization's small staff, Arato said.
"Because of the proposed changes and the early notice (of the meeting), we thought we could be proactive," Arato said.
Noted cultural landscape expert Charles Birnbaum will also be in Pinehurst this week.
Birnbaum is the founder of the Cultural Landscape Foundation (CLF), a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the public's awareness of the importance and irreplaceable legacy of cultural landscapes. He is speaking in Southern Pines tonight.
He will visit Pinehurst and have a luncheon meeting Thursday at a private residence with invited guests, including representatives from the village.
Birnbaum's organization placed Pinehurst on a "Landslide" list in 2006. Established in 2002, the list focuses on culturally significant landscapes at risk for alteration or destruction. Pinehurst was placed on the list because of the proposed roundabout near the resort.
Arato said the timing of the visits were coincidence, nothing more.
Tom Embrey can be reached at (910) 693-2484 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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