Grateful to HdG for creating city historic district, declaring John O'Neill Day [Letter]


I burst with pride and joy that a 20-year struggle, since my appointment to the Havre de Grace Historic Preservation Commission, has reached fruition with the passage of Resolution 2018-15 tonight, Aug. 6, by a receptive Mayor Martin and City Council to the idea.

Since 1982, the Havre de Grace Historic District has been recognized by both the federal government and the Maryland state government; without recognition by the City of Havre de Grace itself. This makes right that oversight.

Future steps will allow for the usage of "historic district" in advertising, promotion and sale of real estate within. Grants and funding will be easier to gain. Tax incentives for property owners in the now recognized district can now be proposed to protect historic structures.

This is a "win" for property owners in the historic district; as based on other districts around the United States; property values will increase.

I thank the present city council members and Mayor Bill Martin for the passage of this resolution this evening.

Likewise, I am proud and ecstatic that a proposal I introduced several years ago at a May Historic Awards presentation to City Council has been passed also, by another 6-0 vote. Recognition of John O'Neill, as a hometown hero of the May 3, 1813 attack upon Havre de Grace by the British fleet, with a special John O'Neill Day, the first Saturday of each May as an official city holiday; is just the commencement of many things to come from Resolution 2018-14.

This gives the initiative for future re-enactments of the attack, burning, etc. of that historic date/usage of the event by The Independence Day Commission for its John O'Neill banquet and selection of the grand marshal hero for the Independence Day Parade, events at the Lighthouse associated with the O'Neill family tenure as lighthouse keepers and so forth.

Even the drive to erect a John O'Neill statue will have more purpose.

I thank the Mayor and City Council for their vote and vision.

Ron Browning

Chair, HdG Historic

Preservation Commission

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