Historic district ordinance voted down

July 8, 2013

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LUDINGTON — Ludington City Council overwhelmingly voted down the proposed ordinance to form a historic district on East Ludington Avenue tonight. See background story here. Had it passed, the ordinance would have formed a historic district on the avenue between Harrison and Staffon streets. Basically, any changes to buildings or property within that district would have had to meet certain historical standards set forth by an appointed committee.

Some of the councilors explained their reasonings for voting down the ordinance before the vote.

Councilor Kaye Ferguson-Holman said she was voting no, but only because that is what the majority of what constituents in that district wanted. “I am going to do something tonight that I don’t want to do,” she said before the vote. “I have done a lot of things on this council that I have been proud of but this just isn’t going to be one of them… I’m sorry about this and it just hurts my heart.”

Ferguson-Holman said a historic district proposal was made many years ago for downtown Ludington. That, too, was turned down and as a result, the downtown has taken many years to recover.

Councilor Dick Rathsack complimented the historic district study committee, led by Dr. Bill Anderson, for its work through the years. “I’m surprised by the apathy displayed by our community,” he said. “But, the poll taken by the city of property owners clearly demonstrates that the vast majority of the residents in this district are opposed to it. Therefore I must oppose it.”

Mayor John Henderson, who does not vote unless to break a tie, told the audience and the council that everyone should feel proud about the work put into the proposal.

“There has been a large amount of debate that we have had here and I commend you all. This is how our society works…. I think this is a great reflection of how government should work.”

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