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Letters: Preservationists see the value of churches

To the Editor:

I found the column penned by Lewiston Mayor Robert E. Macdonald (“Enough is Enough: Churches were Lewiston’s social and religious centers,” June 6) a curious read, running interference as I take it, for Central Maine Healthcare.

Rather than defend his city’s rich social and religious ethnic heritage, Macdonald aims his brickbats at those who have come forward to defy the political and economic establishment to defend the civic culture: the historic preservationists. Mayor Macdonald composes his words to defend the entity that would raze St. Joseph’s church for a parking lot.

For some reason, Macdonald reminds me of the mayor of Amity Island in the movie “Jaws.”  Mayor Larry Vaugan refused to let police chief Martin Brodie post the beaches off limits after the first shark attack. Vaugan was afraid of ruining the tourist season and offending powerful beachfront hotel owners.

But back to Lewiston and the meddlesome preservationists Macdonald chastises. Some of his lines are memorable. “Now at the eleventh hour our historical preservationists are rallying and sobbing about the loss,” he intones.

Mayor Macdonald goes as far as to assign motives to the preservationists, saying, “Added to this is the demonization of Central Maine Healthcare. They are portrayed as some type of dark, evil corporation bent on destroying the soul of our city. Well, bub, they’re not!”

I doubt the preservationists really feel that way. Macdonald winds down his spirited outburst by saying, “It also appears that many of these historical preservation people are trapped somewhere in the past.”

Maybe. Or maybe not. It is the beleaguered preservationists, not a blustery mayor, who can see the value of St. Joseph’s and other heritage structures as something more than saving money through removal and providing Lewiston with more parking lots.

Hon. Steven W Lindsey

State Rep. (retired)

Keene, N.H.

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