ProJo: My Turn: Brent Runyon: Let's preserve R.I.'s State House grounds

The prospect of new buildings on the State House lawn is nearly unthinkable. Of foremost importance to all Rhode Islanders is the sanctity of the State House and its setting. In addition to the building's unrivaled architecture, the open space around it and its setting atop a hill are defining characteristics that make ours the most beautiful State House in America.

The continual paving over and development of open space is a national problem, as reported in The Cultural Landscape Foundation's version of the Providence Preservation Society's Most Endangered Properties list: “Landslide 2017: Open Season on Open Space.” As TCLF's President and CEO Charles A. Birnbaum said with the release of this year's list, “Open space is too often treated as a void, absent any cultural significance and waiting to be filled.”

Among landscapes in Rhode Island, the State House setting is significant in its entirety. While there is some argument about whether the current lawn is what was planned by the architects McKim, Mead & White, there is no doubt that what currently exists has gained important meaning in its own right, including the site for recent citizen rallies and protests that occupied much of that open space. We can think of no other location in Rhode Island that is truly “common ground.”

To view the complete article, visit Providence Journal

Courtesy of Providence Journal

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