At an Aug. 24 meeting of the Milton Historic Preservation Board, City Planner Randy Jorgensen gave a lengthy presentation in support of four-laning Highway 90 through the Milton Historic District. Because Mr. Jorgensen's pitch droned on for over an hour, there was no time for public comment.
So, I would like to make two points regarding the potential four-laning.
First, it will require doing something with the historic, 140-year-old Fisher-Hamilton building. One proposal is to move it some 60 feet to get it out of the path of the four-lane road. In my experience, if a plan defies gravity and common sense it is a bad idea. Trying to move a fragile old brick building defies both gravity and common sense. It will result only in a pile of historic bricks. Sadly, that outcome would not bother some members of the HPB.
Second, what will four lanes — actually five lanes, with turn lanes — through the historic district look like? You don't need artist conceptions and engineering drawings to find out. Just look at four-lane Highway 90! You don't have to go far.
From Tops TV, where the four-lane begins, through Milton, Pea Ridge, Pace and all the way down Nine Mile Road in Escambia County there is not one area that is peaceful, charming, welcoming, pedestrian-friendly or pleasant for foot traffic. The Milton Historic District is such a place but it will be destroyed by a busy four-lane road.
Shouldn't we have such a place of sanctuary and tranquility where people can stroll, shop and dine? Don't we have enough places of commerce?
Traffic congestion through Milton needs to be alleviated, but not at the expense of destroying the heart and soul of our town.
Once lost, it cannot be regained.
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