Eleven supporters of the initiative to save the Veblen House attended the Princeton council meeting last night, and spoke during public comment about their love for Herrontown Woods, and the important role the Veblen buildings play as landmarks and gathering places in the landscape there. Important points were made, about living up to the Veblens' wishes as described in their will and deed, recent fundraising achievements, the questionable cost estimates in the county's Conditions Assessment, and the need to apply creativity and resourcefulness to the dilemma of the houses, when a one-size-fits-all approach has not yielded solutions.
Afterwards, the thought occurred that those legally responsible for Herrontown Woods and the Veblen buildings have viewed them through a prism of liability rather than responsibility, and it is the Friends of Herrontown Woods that has come along and taken the responsibilities as described in the Veblen will and deed seriously. We are, in a sense, like unofficial foster parents who stepped into a void of care and have for four years provided the care the land and trails needed. Now we wish to take on the buildings as well, and are offering a way to "parent" the buildings. It's an approach that takes the buildings as they are, recognizes quality and potential where others point to flaws, sees worth in them at every step along the way, rather than deeming the buildings worthless unless they attain a certain level of achievement.
Thus far, as we fulfill each requirement to be judged fit for this new "parenting" role, another requirement is added. We understand it is a serious undertaking, but we believe the hurdles should not be made overly rigid and onerous, and that we should be recognized and respected as the one entity that has taken seriously the caretaker responsibilities.
Thanks to Pam, Sally, Margaret, Mia, Inge, Wendy, Lee, Stephanie, Victoria, and Huck, for attending and speaking out.
Note: Attendance at the next council meeting, May 22, may prove important as well, if a formal resolution to support FOHW's initiative is introduced, discussed, and voted on.