With the city of Beaufort's creation of a redevelopment commission three years ago, extensive redevelopment plans are afoot in the National Historic Landmark District, all of them creating questions and concerns, applause and jeers.
To that end, Historic Beaufort Foundation is bringing to town a national leader in building bridges between plans and people. Mary Means, in her former capacity as a vice president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, created the National Main Street program and took it to scale. Means' topic, "Historic Towns and Redevelopment: Making it Work," will address redevelopment projects that have been proposed in the historic district, most notably the Downtown Marina parking lot. However, it is the foundation's hope that the models for cooperation that she recommends can be ingrained in all redevelopment projects.
Throughout Means' long career in community-based strategic planning, she has worked to demonstrate how economic development can be accomplished within the context of preservation. She believes that balance and making business sense are central. Her clients have benefited from her ability to diagnose and problem-solve, and to foster creative collaboration.
HBF through the years has been misleadingly smeared with being anti-development and opposed to change. Nothing could be further from the truth. Our mantra has been, and continues to be, that we welcome appropriate infill development that is mindful of its context and the ever-necessary appropriate height, mass, scale and size. Projects that we have opposed, like a prominent one at the corner of Bay and Carteret streets, have been ones that violated those basic aspects.
The public is invited to hear Means and to participate in HBF's annual recognition of top preservation projects and preservationists at the foundation's annual meeting, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 19, at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts, 801 Carteret St., Beaufort. The program begins at 5:30 p.m. and will be followed by a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception. Tickets are $15, and reservations should be made in advance by calling the HBF office at 843-379-3331.
Maxine Lutz is the executive director of Historic Beaufort Foundation.