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Preserving past can improve future

Historical preservation can be a tough sell. It’s not always possible to convince people to spend money on restoration and renovation when new construction can often be cheaper, easier and faster.

In too many cases, Texas cities have opted to bulldoze their history, allowing many unique structures — and much of their heritage — to be lost.

Luckily, some cities — Denton is a prime example — have worked to preserve portions of their colorful pasts and weave historical value into the fabric of their communities. In doing so, they have learned that history can be a drawing card for tourism and a rallying point for neighborhood pride.

Now, the city of Pilot Point has taken another step in its ongoing historical preservation efforts, and we think city leaders are making the right call. Monday night, Pilot Point’s council agreed to use $28,000 to complete work on a building at 201 S. Jefferson St. that’s been designated as a city museum.

So far, the city has cleaned the building’s interior, restored water service and repaired and renovated the exterior brick facade. Officials hope the completed facility will someday house artifacts, memorabilia and other historic items.

Establishing a museum in the historic downtown area is a key part of Pilot Point’s current restoration and preservation efforts, and the city has been working to make it happen for several months.

City Manager Tom Adams told us the project should make a real change in the downtown area, and we hope this restoration is just the first of many. Last spring, the city received a grant to secure the assistance of a group of city planning experts from an award-winning volunteer project of the American Institute of Architects, and one of the team’s recommendations was that the city’s primary focus should be redeveloping the downtown square because of the sense of pride residents have in it.

The team did not propose a full-blown restoration to a specific year, but recommended bringing the square into the 21st century while maintaining the character of all the significant periods of history that remain.

That may sound like a tall order, but it appears that interest in the project is running high.

Joyce Duesman, chairwoman of a city planning committee, said Monday that last month’s recommendation from city-planning experts generated a lot of community interest, resulting in residents expressing a desire to volunteer for future improvement projects.

These residents represent an untapped resource for the city, Duesman said, and she encouraged the council to act quickly to take advantage of the community’s interest before it fades.

“I was really amazed by the residents willing to volunteer,” she said. “There is a lot of untapped talent in the community and several people are willing to donate their ideas and time to volunteer.”

We think that’s great, and we encourage Pilot Point city leaders to waste no time in getting these interested citizens involved. Such community pride should not be allowed to go to waste.