Springettsbury Township sat along an early path for settlers to travel south and west. So that well-worn route – known as the Monocacy Road, Lincoln Highway and Route 462 – created an avenue for development along its sides. So land use issues in Springetts – not known as such then – goes back since York County’s earliest days. In 2015, we’re passing through another wave of proposed Springetts development, which is causing a bit of controversy. Some of the fine older buildings, the Vern-Mar Apartments, above, and the renovated First Post are seeing new life, courtesy of businessmen who see potential there.
But other Springetts buildings that grew up along the Lincoln Highway are threatened. The old Springettsbury Township Fire Hall is one that is coming down. More recently, a developer is looking at land for a shopping center where the Modernaire Motel and other landmark buildings stand in Springetts.
The preservation v. development debate is not an simple one, especially in a county where our longtime connection to the agrarian South means property rights roots run deep, even north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
This Facebook exchange illuminates this complexity, particularly Blanda Nace’s good points (click on comments below to see discourse. Also if photos don’t load on mobile devices, click on the date):
– “Much is out of township hands. You cannot tell a property owner everything that they can and can’t do with their property” and “What if the people who own hotel want to sell? Are we telling them that they can’t?”
Of course, not every historic building can or should be saved, such as the building below.
But developers must give due consideration before bulldozing venerable buildings. Some of the recent shopping centers that have gone up around the York County area already are old and detract from quality of life.
Developers always should give preservationists a chance to make their case, and people an opportunity to step forward to secure funding and envision reuse.
That worked with the Hoke House in Spring Grove. Perhaps middle ground or some form of adaptive reuse can be found.
This house is a product of preservationists’ best work, too.
And so is this nearby property … .
— Teresa Boeckel (@teresaboeckel) May 29, 2015