Heritage Guild questions candidates on their commitments to historic preservation
Editor’s Note: The following questions were posed to 2019 Warren County Supervisor Candidates by the Heritage Guild of Vickburg Warren. The candidates were given until August 1 to respond via email to their questions. There was no requirement as to the length of the candidates’ answers. No responses were accepted after the August 1 deadline. Responses were shared with The Vicksburg Post by The Heritage Guild of Vicksburg Warren and have not been edited.
The Heritage Guild of Vicksburg Warren is a volunteer organization established in 2016. The organization is open to all and encourages those who are interested to join them in championing our community’s historical assets. For more information on the group’s activities, please view their facebook page titled “Heritage Guild Vicksburg Warren.” As a 501c3 not for profit organization the guild does not endorse any candidate.
Question 1: Historic preservation is more than just saving individual buildings. It is about preserving authentic places, including entire neighborhoods and commercial districts. Many counties use historic preservation as an economic development tool to create a unique sense of place which is marketable and can attract people to invest, live and work in a place with character and a past. If elected county supervisor, how would you integrate historic preservation into your economic development strategy for the city and the county?
District 1 Candidate John Arnold (Independent): “I think historic preservation is surely a part of economic development as we try to attract industries into our county. I believe the appearance of how we take care of our facilities are important and part of the equation to attract industry and people to our county.”
District 1 Candidate Ed Herring (Republican): “The first part of my economic development plan would be to work in tandem with the city, and other community entities to strive for a common goal. Keeping the historic value of these properties in mind, we could offer buildings as first choices to new businesses or investors that agree to keep the preservation of the building. Engaging residents of these historic neighborhoods and building a bond between them, HGVW, county and city would allow these areas to be revitalized and marketed for much needed residential properties.”
District 3 Candidate Charles Selmon (Democrat): “As elected officials for many years, the Board of Supervisors has worked on many architectural projects and will continue to preserve projects as our funding will allow. At this point we have a major project that is pressing for our community. The Old Courthouse Museum retaining wall has failed and the Board is seeking funding for a temporary fix until funds may become available to completely repair this project. Projects of this nature are one example of how the Board is working to preserve the historic sites for our community and the tourist industry.”
District 3 Candidate David Sharp (Independent): “Preserving history for posterity is significant for everyone. History shows the good, the bad, and the ugly, yet allows us to learn from the past to better the future. As a History teacher, I feel there is a duty for the county and the city officials to actively collaborate ensuring historical properties and sites are maintained and preserved for generations where possible. If elected as Supervisor for Warren County, District 3, I will collaborate with fellow supervisors to create a Historical Incentive Plan(s) that will assist individuals who own or purchase properties in need of restoration that carry historical significance. The properties must be maintained for (x) number of years to continue the benefits of the program. The incentives will help increase the value of a said property and will help increase the property values of surrounding properties. The maintaining of the property will help ensure the beauty of the city and county, as well as help, keep the areas safe for children that might be playing in and around the areas. I will work in collaboration with the Heritage Guild, City, and County inspectors to ensure the properties are being maintained for incentive benefits.”
District 4 Candidate John Carlisle (Republican): “It is very important that we continue to support Historic Preservation in our city and county so as to enhance our community to others. This will be a joint with the city government and the county to the extent that the law allows.”
District 4 Candidate Jeffery P. Holland (Independent): “I have spent the last few years working with a team of local and State leaders to develop the Mississippi Center for Innovation and Technology in the Mississippi Hardware Building (MHB). The MHB is exactly the type of space the Guild describes above – a wonderful historic building, in an area of our downtown area that will benefit tremendously from economic development. By utilizing this historic venue to house the Center, our community and State benefit in multiple ways: (a) we restore and preserve this piece of community history while returning it to effective use; (b) because the building qualifies for historic tax credits at both the State and Federal levels, the scope and impact of the ensuing economic development are greatly enhanced; and, (c) an area of our downtown is revitalized in a manner that anchors current and future developments. Such truly “integrated” historic restoration/economic development efforts, in a community like ours that benefits so greatly from history-based tourism, is a win-win scenario for us that differentiates us from others in our region. I can assure you I will continue to support such win-win opportunities.”
District 5 Candidate Kelle Banks Barfield (Republican): “Historic assets are indeed a vital economic development strategy for Warren County, and one of the cornerstones of the Vicksburg Warren County Strategic Economic Development Plan. Just as the Heritage Guild was formed to integrate the interests and activities of many organizations and individuals, the board of supervisors must exercise its duties related to community development and public welfare in a way that ties together the interests of many residents and groups, including those devoted to historic preservation. Open communication, aspirational but achievable goals, concrete timelines, and clear accountability are crucial ingredients for putting ideas for historic preservation into action as we improve Warren County’s economy. Through my founding of Delta Warren Properties, I have made significant personal commitments to historic preservation in Vicksburg because I do see these assets as being as much about our future as about our past. As supervisor, I would make historic asset protection a key consideration as the board manages budget and public works projects needed to promote our overall business climate and bring our community together.”
District 5 Candidate Richard George (Independent): “Warren County is associated with the “Partnership” in order to coordinate all economic development activities in Warren county. The county will certainly support involvement with historic preservation as a important facet of development.”
Responses were not submitted or submitted past the deadline for the following candidates:
District 1 Candidate Bill Jeffers (Republican)
District 2 Candidate William Vollor Halpin (Independent)
District 2 Candidate William H. Banks Jr. (Democrat)
District 2 Candidate Stan Collins (Independent)
District 3 Candidate Shawn Jackson (Democrat)
District 3 Candidate James E. Stirgus, Jr. (Democrat)
District 4 Candidate Marty Crevitt (Republican)
District 5 Candidate Hunter Vinzant (Independent)
District 5: Candidate Carl Campbell (Independent)
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