Well place shrub could help mask appearance of BGE gas meters

Editorial

  • New gas meters like this one in the 500 block of Bourbon Street in Havre de Grace have been instlaled by BGE and have some in the city's historic community concerned about their appearance. A BGE spokesperson says the meters won't be changed.
New gas meters like this one in the 500 block of Bourbon Street… (Matt Button | Record Staff,…)
August 09, 2011

Concern on the part of the Havre de Grace Historic Preservation Commission over the installation of outdoor gas meters in the historic district seems just a bit much.

The commission — led by Ron Browning, who writes a community column for this newspaper's sister paper, The Record —  sent a letter to BGE saying it would be preferred that gas meters not be installed in front of historic buildings. When BGE went ahead and installed meters in front of the buildings, the commission expressed anger.

Sure, it would have been nice if BGE, a business entity lately worthy of much criticism, could have somehow hidden the meters. This is one case, however, where BGE may well be worthy of defending.

The company maintains it is complying with an industry standard in installing the meters, which kind of makes sense.

Sure, Havre de Grace has an economic stake in ensuring its historic district continues to be attractive to out-of-town visitors. There are, however, limits to this. No one would suggest the streets in front of 1800s vintage buildings be returned to dirt. And what about indoor plumbing and electricity? These, after all, are conveniences that came into their own primarily in the 1900s.

While it is the responsibility, at least to some extent, of the historic district commission to pick and choose which historic authenticities it advocates for and which it doesn't, this one doesn't seem worth fighting. After all, a well placed shrub could counteract the effects of a modern gas meter, and be a timeless addition to any property.

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