Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Is OTR Ready for a Preservation Station?

Recent demolitions in OTR have raised the question of 1.)Why are historic buildings torn down with little or no input? and 2) If buildings must come down, why are we not recycling important historic elements and using that as a fundraising source for historic preservation.

So I ask the question, Is OTR ready for a Preservation Station? For those not familiar with the concept, a neighborhood group or organization dedicated to restoration and preservation is formed and that group works with the city and developers to get The"rights" to salvage historic structure pre-demolition. Items that could be used by other restoring homes like mantles, trim, lighting, clawfoot tubs, pocket doors, are removed by volunteers. These are then made available at a "Preservation Station" that is staffed by volunteers, usually open a couple of weekends a month. Sometimes in buildings or warehouse spaces owned by the city that are not used. OTR has alot of those! Perhaps 3CDC could provide a space as part of their community efforts and out reach? These valuable items are just going to a landfill and could save people restoring their homes thousands in restoration costs.
In many cities these centers are sucessful enough to merit a full time staffperson. The monies generated by these centers are used for grants to homeowners for presevation projects like wrought iron fence repair or facade grants. In some cases the group will buy endangered properties from the city and then stabilize them with the profits from a center like this and then resell the stabilized property to preservation minded home buyers.

Imaging a center like this in a storefront at Findlay for example!
Programs like this work in small and big cities , Burlington Iowa was one of the first to have a program like this:
Is there interest in setting up something like this?

1 comment:

Jason said...

I think this sounds like a wonderful idea. I'm sure if you were to get the ball rolling on something like this you would find lots of very receptive people.
Thanks for the great post!