Historic buildings inventory upendedFriday the 13th may have indeed been an unlucky day this month. On that day, Maryanne Norton received her completed copy of Phase III of the East End Historic Buildings Inventory.
By: Thomas Vaughn, Duluth Budgeteer New
Friday the 13th may have indeed been an unlucky day this month. On that day, Maryanne Norton received her completed copy of Phase III of the East End Historic Buildings Inventory.
“I found many, many errors and omissions in it.
I can only say it was a sloppy job,” she said.
“I have two pages of
errors just on pages 8 through 57.”
Norton spoke these words at public meeting of Duluth’s Historic Preservation Commission at Duluth City Hall last Tuesday afternoon. A retired librarian who now volunteers her expertise, Norton has long studied Duluth neighborhoods. She noted inaccuracies such as incorrect architect attributions, misnaming of certain buildings and churches, and wrongly listed names of first owners for certain homes.
She also said that no one from Summit Envirosolutions, the environmental consulting firm retained for the job, took the time to consult historic documents at the Duluth Public Library and held in the Northeast Minnesota Historical Center located at the University of Minnesota Duluth.
Summit Envirosolutions offers specialized service in cultural resource management, according to its website. Andrew Schmidt, Summit’s director of cultural resources, listened to Norton’s testimony at the meeting in City Council chambers and took responsibility for the errors.
“As far as the errors, somewhere there was a disconnect. I am fully committed to correcting the errors in the report and making sure that it’s of the highest quality,” he said, promising better work going forward.
Schmidt stated that he had assigned the project
to a less experienced
employee he considered ready for a large project, but that he failed to
give that employee the oversight and support needed.
David Woodward, chairman of the commission, led the meeting. He thanked Norton for her
“If we’re going to make decisions based on this document, it is of the utmost concern that it is an accurate document,” said Woodward.
Charles Froseth, representing Duluth’s Development Division, also attended and stated that the city would withhold about one-fourth of the payment for Phase III — $5,000 — until corrections had been finalized.
The commission decided to proceed with Phase IV of the inventory despite concern over the result of Phase III, largely in order to maintain the momentum and financing from the state for historic preservation work.
Commission member Carolyn Sundquist said that the State Historic Preservation Office is a primary funding source for municipal historic data gathering efforts such as the East End Inventory. SHPO works with the Minnesota Historical Society to gather statewide historic information. When another Minnesota city returned unused funds to SHPO, the state office offered that money to Duluth, contingent upon Phase IV reaching completion in August to meet a funding window requirement.
“The Minnesota Historical Society has always been concerned because Duluth is so far behind in keeping current historic resources surveys,” Sundquist said.
Norton commented that that SHPO will not release the document until the corrections have been made. She also affirmed that Schmidt, Froseth and herself would work together to ensure the accuracy of the next Phase III submission.More from around the web