I am responding to the Feb. 17 editorial regarding historic designation of the Old Stone Inn in the West End ("This Old House"). This is a nomination all of us should support.
But the bigger issue is that preservation should not be seen as a last-minute option or used as a "battering ram" to prevent development. Rather, historic preservation should be employed as a planning tool to guide development before a property becomes too derelict to be saved.
There are some cases when preservation is a measure of last resort to save historic sites. But the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh has urged from its outset for the community to be more vigilant of historic properties that could be at risk and to take action before the issue becomes contentious.
This is why we issued the report "Unprotected Pittsburgh" in 2006 that details 130 properties in the city of Pittsburgh that are not protected city historic landmarks.
These include the former Kaufmann's (now Macy's) department store, the modernist icon Regional Enterprise Tower (former Alcoa headquarters), the Duquesne Incline and the home of Robert L. Vann, founder of the Pittsburgh Courier, in Homewood.
More sites can and should be added to the city's inventory of historic properties long before they stir up controversy or become neglected and abandoned.
The city of Pittsburgh historic preservation code empowers citizens to protect and preserve the city's valuable historic legacy. But it seems this power is used too seldom or as a last-minute response to an issue that should have been on the community's radar screen for many years.
Chief Executive Officer
Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh