PEP president: Give Boston Middle School building historic designation

I feel strongly that not to protect Boston Middle School through local historic designation would be a tragic mistake. While the current administration of the LaPorte School Corporation has committed to adaptive re-use of the building, all it would take is a change in the leadership of the corporation for that to change abruptly. 

When my husband and I moved our family to the Midwest, we spent almost a year house hunting in South Bend. It only took one trip to LaPorte to send our home search in a whole new direction. While my husband is a New Yorker, I was brought up in a town that celebrated its 300th birthday in 1978. We were looking for a place with a defined center and a sense of pride in its own history. LaPorte inspired us to spend 8 months fighting to purchase our current home, and then to continue working to bring it back to its former glory. It sits in an historic district that has the sort of character that just isn’t part of the mindset of developers today. We respect the historic ambiance that is present in the city, and the spirit that has the building owners on Lincolnway leading the charge in sprucing up the downtown district. 

Since my family and I moved to LaPorte in 2013, the school’s windows have been replaced and air conditioning has been installed. These actions indicate a commitment by the LaPorte School Corporation to adaptive re-use of the building rather than demolition by neglect. I’m wondering why those who are shouting about the cost of maintaining the building would be so opposed to protecting the investments already made in it. I also wonder if these same people would feel the same way if we were talking about the Civic Auditorium, another crown jewel in our architectural landscape.

I applaud City Councilman Tim Stabosz’s dedication to the historic integrity of our city, and his courage in standing up for its preservation through local historic designation. Most of all, I share his vision for the future of LaPorte as a vibrant city that has the potential to be an awesome place to live, work and do business.

As President of People Engaged in Preservation, I am standing with Councilman Stabosz, former Historic Preservation Commissions Presidents Diane Noe and Bea Owen, and all of those who are calling for the Local Historic Designation of Boston Middle School.

Dottie Rosenbaum

President, People Engaged in Preservation

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