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Arvin Starrett (left) is shown Monday as he presides over his final meeting as chairman of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission. Because of a term limit policy, Starrett is stepping down after 10 years with the commission, all of it as chairman. He choked up several times in saying goodbye, noting the commission’s achievements over the past decade. Also shown (from left) are commission members Paul Denney, Britin Bostick and Douglas Cox. (eParisExtra! photo by Charles Richards.)
By CHARLES RICHARDS
Arvin Starrett, whose name is synonymous with historic preservation efforts in Paris, said an emotional farewell on Monday as he presided over his final meeting of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission..
Starrett, 54, is leaving the board because of a recent change in city policy that limits members of city boards and commissions to two successive three-year terms.
He is the only chairman the HPC has known over its decade of existence.
“My thanks to all who have served or are serving on the commission over the past decade. Parisians who visit downtown find a much different place than that of 10 years ago,” Starrett said in a Facebook post on Sunday. “What a joy it has been to help to see that our ‘place’ will matter for future generations!”
Monday’s final meeting with the commission was a bittersweet day for Starrett.
After Starrett guided the board through a short agenda that included approval of a new sign for the downtown Farmers Market, the final item was the commission’s recognition of Starrett’s service to the board.
He had some prepared remarks for his exit, and he choked up several times. Early on, he paused for about 15 seconds before composing himself enough to continue.
“It’s been an honor to serve on this commission since its inception, and to see the wonderful things that have taken place in our historic neighborhood,” said Starrett, who is owner of Starrett Funeral Home.
“Our efforts have not been without struggle. I shall never forget the litany of public hearings and some of the more colorful characters who appeared in protest. It’s been reassuring to see many of those who had fears of what might happen become active proponents of our efforts,” he said.
“Building after building have been stripped of inappropriate façade and restored to its original grandeur,” he said. “The commission has played a part in restoration efforts on our downtown Culbertson Fountain and the complete restoration of the Peristyle in Bywaters Park.”
In closing, Starrett asked that everyone who follows on the Historic Preservation Commission remember four things:
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