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Local speakers argue importance of preservation and the growth of economy

CARLISLE — Jeff Wood owned a bookstore in Gettysburg for 19 years before establishing Whistlestop Bookshop in Carlisle 27 years ago, and during that time, he’s seen plenty of big-box businesses come and go.

“The strip malls went away in the ’70s, and they started building enclosed malls — like the MJ Mall and the Camp Hill Mall. It recreated downtowns in a closed, controlled environments,” he said. “(Now) there’s no MJ Mall — there’s a Walmart. There’s no Plaza mall, in essence — there are anchor stores and an odd hallway in between.”

It’s these types of temporary, economic shifts that Wood said are reasons why more people should be concerned about preserving the timelessness of downtowns and less interested in opting for warehouses and big chain stores.

“(The downtown) is viable because people still want to live downtown, walk downtown,” he said. “There is 250 years of history with a track record of people looking to live in downtown Carlisle ... and we’ve created a stable community for ourselves.”

Wood was the first speaker at a Leadership Cumberland event Thursday that tackled the debate between historic preservation and economic growth.

Read the entire article at: Sentinel, April 10, 2014

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