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Historic Distinction Causes Split On Staten Island

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TWC News: Historic Distinction Causes Split On Staten Island
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A proposal to turn a block in Staten Island into an historic district has some residents at odds. NY1's Monica brown filed the following report.

Preservationists say Harrison Street in Staten Island's Stapleton neighborhood has something special and it should be approved as an historic district.

"It's a nook off of downtown Stapleton that was settled to reflect the wealth that Stapleton had and could have in the future. Defined by the eclectic mix of architectural styles, second empire, victorian, greek revival," said Staten Island Preservation League President John Kilcullen.

Cynthia Mailman, who owns a building on the block agrees. She's hoping the city approves the current proposal to make the block an historic district because she says it will bring stability to the neighborhood.

"I don’t think everything should be torn down and ticky-tacky’s put up. I think some things of beauty and historic value should be preserved for future generations," Mailman said.

On the block of 43 homes, working class homeowners say historic status is a financial burden they just can't afford. Linda Acevedo has started a petition to fight it. She says maintaining an historic house is expensive. The city does offer grant money to help, but residents say they also have other concerns. Acevedo says living in such a district would also change something else the block is proud of.

"The genetic of the neighborhood will change. It's happened in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, it's happened Park Slope, it's happened in Carrol Gardens, Harlem, and the list goes on," Acevedo said.

Some on Harrison Street still haven’t made up their minds, and many say it is a special block but some say instead of historic status, they just want the city to leave everything status quo.

If it's approved, Harrison Street would be Staten Island's third residential historic district.

The landmarks preservation commission is scheduled to hold a public hearing on October 30.

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