A public hearing is set for this weekend on Mackinac Island about protecting historic buildings there. For years, a committee has studied how to protect the 200-year old city that is a national tourist destination.
Right now most historic buildings on Mackinac Island have no protections. Last year a cottage built in the late 1800s was demolished bringing attention to the issue.
The chair of the study committee, Michael Hart, says he is in favor of creating two historic districts that would protect old buildings. One would be in the downtown area the other would be in a residential area. Hart thinks the committee will be split on whether to create the downtown district because of opposition from business owners.
“Businesses feel they would be unduly restricted in their freedom of action concerning their own properties.”
The historic district study committee could make a recommendation Saturday. But the final decision rests with Mackinac Island’s City Council. Even then more work would have to be done to determine exactly how restrictive the district rules would be.
And people off the island will be watching. Mackinac Island is a National Historic Landmark. But in 2008, the National Park Service said that status was being placed on a watch list because of development pressure on historic buildings.