Mantua – A recent visitor to the area commented on how much she loved the beauty and small town American charm of the homes, churches and town centers of Northeast Ohio. When I gave her a quizzical look, she explained, laughing, “I live in Tampa, where everything’s new. We don’t have this kind of history at home.”

Exchanges like that one can help bolster a sense of pride in the rich history of our closely knit villages and townships. Community pride is a great thing, but is it enough to ensure these treasures will be around for our children and grandchildren to enjoy?

To that end, in the spring of 2011, the Downtown Mantua Revitalization Corporation (DMRC) investigated the viability of establishing a Historic Landmark Commission. According to Aaron Snopek, a key member of this committee, “Over a period of eighteen months, DMRC volunteers determined whether a formalized preservation effort was needed for our Village. We conducted public meetings, met with historic preservation experts and listened to the concerns of historic property owners. Then we worked in cooperation with our Village government to work-out a simple and common sense historic preservation proposal.”

Validating the exhaustive work done by the DMRC team, Mantua’s Village Council passed legislation last December that officially allowed for the creation of a Historic Landmark Commission for the Village. When asked about the Landmark Commission, Mantua Village Mayor Linda Clark commented, “They provide one more piece of the puzzle in helping to rebuild and revitalize our Village.”

And at a recent Council Meeting, the group took another step forward by appointing seven people to serve on the Landmark Commission. Members include: Helen Haylett and Hal Stamm, who have each been appointed to a one-year term; Carole Pollard and Renee Henry, who have each received two-year terms; and Eric Hummel, Nicholas Ehlert and Aaron Snopek, who have each been appointed to three-year-terms on the Landmark Commission.

The public is welcome to attend their first meeting, at 7:00 p.m. on March 27 at the Village Hall in Mantua. At this organizational meeting, the Commission will elect a chairperson and secretary, and set a schedule for future meetings. New appointees and residents will have an opportunity to discuss plans to move historic preservation in Mantua forward during the initial year of the Commission’s existence. Snopek noted, “While preserving buildings may not seem terribly exciting to some, it is an important issue relevant in the long-term vitality of our community.”

And while our current weather may not be as pleasant as Tampa, we can all enjoy our historic homes and buildings as we watch the season change. To find out what’s next for Mantua’s Landmark Commission, or to help in their efforts, meet them at the Village Hall on March 27th