In 2011, Mayor Smith and the Village Board of Trustees appointed a Historic District Committee charged with submitting an application and obtaining historic district designation for Irvington’s Main Street area. The committee embarked on a lengthy application process that included, among other things, a detailed inventory and photographic record of all the contributing and noncontributing buildings in the proposed district, a description of significant factors for each of the contributing buildings, and a narrative on the historical importance of the proposed district. In October 2013, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation officially recognized Irvington’s Main Street and off–Main Street area as a State Historic District. Irvington’s application was then submitted to the National Register of Historic Places. At the end of January 2014, the National Register officially recognized and granted Historic District status to Irvington’s Main Street area. This is a tremendous honor for our village and a distinction that we and generations to come can be proud of. However, as prestigious as these designations may be, they afford no encumbrance or protection of any sort. Responsibility for any and all protective legislation or guidelines for the preservation of our Historic District lies with our local government.
The Irvington Historic District Committee is also charged with making recommendations for such preservation legislation and guidelines to the Village Board of Trustees. This will also be a lengthy process. Careful consideration must be given to the rights of property owners; progress and change needs to be balanced with the historic character of the district. In the coming months the Historic District Committee will be holding public discussions, seeking input on how we can achieve this delicate balance. I urge all of the Irvington community to give this process some deep thought and to share your ideas. In the meantime, let’s celebrate the honor of being recognized by the State of New York and the National Register of Historic Places as a very special historic village.