Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cincinnati: STOP Bulldozing Historic properties!

As a regular reader of Building Cincinnati I have been appalled to learn that 2 properies on Baymailler have been bulldozed recently. These properties are within a historic district and should not have been bulldozed as both were salvageable. Both of these properties were restorable. It's time for the city to take a different approach. rather than tear down properties (1960's Urban renewal) once a property has been condemmed by the city, the city obviously has a enforceable lien interest. At this point the property owner should be given the option by the court to give the property to the city, in lieu of the fine, or the city should begin eminent domain proceedings. The city should then have a city run website called "Save Historic Cincinnati" this website could be run by volunteers. Properties would be placed up for sale, for say a nominal fee of 1000.00. The properties come with a protective covenant that they must be restored to preservation standards and in addition to the owner providing proof of funds and/or a finance committment, permits must be pulled and work must begin within 30 days of close and the project must be completed within 18 month. Any and all stabilization deemed essential by the city must occur in the first 90 days.
Historic Landmarks of Indianapolis has a similar program, called FLIP
and it has been sucessful in saving numerous properties and works closely with the city. St Joseph, Mo has a website, run by its historic preservation officer that markets endangered properties.
Monies generated by the sale of these properties could be put into stabilization efforts on other city owned properties or to offset the costs of enforcement, or for adjacient neighborhood projects.
As for Baymiller and the Dayton Street Historic: These properties were in a historic district. there are restored properties in the area priced between 100-400,000, so the "economics" of historic restoration clearly work. It is time for the city to take a different approach and not take a 1960's Urban renewal approach which we know does not work, does not help preservation efforts and destroys the historic integrity of the district. I urge the council to study a new approach and I challenge those in the preservation community to stand up for preservation.


Brianne said...

Agreed that renovating is preferable as long as the structure is relatively sound.

At the very least, can we stress "deconstruction" rather than demolition? Just the architectural features of this building ought to hold worth in resale.

Jason said...

I agree wholeheartedly with your assesment of this issue. Have you contacted City Council? Have you contacted any of the local preservation societies? You have such great ideas that you need to make sure they are heard by the right people.