EDITOR’S DESK: Time for a history lesson?

       Writing can be a difficult chore (hey, tell me about it). But no one has a keener sense of that reality at the moment than Al Feinstein, who clearly misunderstood the extent of background text he would be required to pen as the first “deliverable” of the design guidelines he had been hired to develop for the Westside historic overlay effort.
       His termination won't be officially final until March 14 (according to city contractual rules) and perhaps some last-minute resolution may still be worked out before then. But such a circumstance didn't seem likely after talking to him this week. He remained convinced that his position was correct, that the city and state are getting too caught up in relatively nonessential details. What's significant is not all that historical background, he contended; what should be significant are the decisions that must be made about individual buildings and how they contribute to the older Westside's historical style.
       In this view, he has the support of Dave Hughes, one of the movers and shakers of the historic-overlay effort and whose other contributions to the Westside over the years are many and profound.
       I usually agree with Dave - and certainly, Feinstein has considerable expertise in the architectural profession - but I just don't know if I can go along with their point of view here. It seems logical that if we are to have an overlay that can stand the test of time, it should have a solid foundation. The information called for in the first deliverable - things like platting patterns, street/alley layout and building periods - may sound boring and onerous to compile, but without such information how can decisions about historic correctness on the Westside be truly defended? Knowing precisely how we got from there (1859, when Colorado City was just tents and shacks) to today's eclectic mix seems not only necessary, but even interesting, in a way. And since we're trying to preserve our history, wouldn't it be a good idea to know more about how it got to be what it is?

- K.J.