The political tug of war that had stunted efforts to repopulate the McHenry County Historic Preservation Commission thankfully appears to be over.
The McHenry County Board again is accepting applications from individuals interested in appointment to the seven-member advisory board. Available positions include one seat expiring in 2020, two terms expiring in 2021, one term expiring in 2022 and three positions expiring in 2023. All terms end Nov. 26 of the aforementioned years.
Attorneys, architects, engineers, real estate professionals with knowledge of historic preservation and individuals with a demonstrated interest in history or architecture are encouraged to apply. You may apply online at www.mchenrycountyil.gov/county-government/departments-a-i/county-board/county-board-appointments/appointment-application.
Plenty is at stake. Not only has a landmark application for Ford School in Lake in the Hills been languishing since 2017, but McHenry County also risks losing its certified local government status and all of the benefits it brings, including training opportunities and funding, plus grants. The county has receive in excess of $39,000 in the past 20 years.
The county’s Historic Preservation Commission was certified by the state and the National Park Service in 1993. That carries with it certain responsibilities: a historic preservation ordinance and an ongoing survey program that includes a viable landmark application process.
In a Nov. 15 memo drafted to Dennis Sanquist, the county’s director of planning and development, by county planner Sean Foley notes that it “seemed unlikely our (county’s) CLG status could be maintained if our HPC is replaced by the [Planning & Development] Committee. But that would require further review by the [State Historic Preservation Office] and possibly the National Park Service, because no county does things that way.”
The county was required to submit an annual report to the State Historic Preservation Office about the commission’s activities by Jan. 30.
• Kurt Begalka is administrator of the McHenry County Historical Society and Museum. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.