Wednesday, October 03, 2007

For Whom the Campanile Tolls...

This evening, CBS 3 Springfield reported that crews were inspecting the stately pre-WWI Municipal Clock tower to develop a plan for rehabilitation.

This development is not a boon for Historical Preservationists alone. Stabilization and repair of the Campanile would be an incredible victory for our ailing city and boost in morale. Returning it to a good state of repair would go a long way to restoring the
city's image, as the clock tower is one of the city's most magnificent symbols. The report also noted efforts by the city to maintain proper time on all four faces and grace the streets of downtown with the sound of the tower's bells. What greater gift could we offer our children than to give to them that music and glory we've denied ourselves for 20 years? These are the same bells that tolled when peace was announced in both World Wars. Their chimes mean more than the top of the hour and we have been denied them by civic indifference.

Sadly, there are some who will not feel the same way. The money for this restoration is likely coming from the Control Board's capital maintenance plan, funded through the sale of municipal bonds. While some politicians may have questioned the use of actual cash for this project, any criticism when the FCB announced plans last year for moneys intended for Municipal Group reconstruction was muted. Now that the city has actually started work (well in fairness begun a study, hopefully followed quickly by work), there may yet be a chorus of dissenters.
It is impossible to name names, but it can be safe to say that those who will be most likely to voice opposition have been blasted by this blog before. The criticism will be local, too. None of the Eastern crowd of the Statehouse will care as it is not being done on their nickel, or more accurately, their loan. If one had to guess, the most likely attackers are those who have liked to fire off attacks at the Control Board, while offering no real solution. They will say the money should go to something more worthy, more pressing.

However, to forget about the Campanile once again would be a betrayal to our city's heritage. Nobody ever said that historic preservation was easy, but it is necessary. It has been a burden at times, but this IS NOT one of those times. As one impassioned youth said to an elected official, "If the Campanile falls down, this city will never again be able to stand and recover."

City Hall appears to be thinking the same way. In the midst of recovery, efforts are underway to see to it that turnaround in complete, not only in our economy, not only in our government, but in our heritage, our history, and our landmarks...our great symbol to the world!

*Photo obtained via Google Search

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good job standing and noticing something where others don't. There's a cariollon up there in the bell tower that is second to none. Thank your for caring about Springfield history and beauty.