Friday, July 10, 2009

Promoting Historic Preservation

Preservationists have one a few battles lately the most recent being a 90 day reprieve for a house in Mt Lookout that was near demolition as reported in the Cincinnati Enquirer,

What is interesting is the attitude of many of those in the comments section that essentially "they should just bulldoze the old thing". Unfortunately we live in a "new is better" society where there is little understanding or appreciation of "old things'.

Cincinnati inspections is a 'complaint driven' system. Our neighbors grass gets tall , we complain, the house down the street gets run down we complain. Ideally everyone wants all homes in their area to be well maintained , sometimes that is a problem, usually due to the owners age or financial circumstance, more often than not its a slum landlord/investor who is milking a property for all they can get. maintenance means dollars going out and less profit retained.

I understand why people complained about the house we bought. It was a mess. The previous owners inherited it and had no idea what to do with it. The city jumped on them made them pay a VBML and they did borrow money and put in new windows a new roof and more. The borrowing of that money put them in debt and they lost the house to foreclosure. By the time we bought it it was overgrown and unsightly and If i lived near it I'd complain too. Had we not come along it would probably be on the demo list by now. But if you look at then and now, what a difference.

So what can you do to promote Preservation? Here are some ideas.

Outside First: I know you want so desperately to get that historic wallpaper on the walls but concentrate on the exterior first. Make sure plants and bushes are trimmed back and don't forget to mulch the beds. Mulch is cheap and provides a nice appearance. You will soon notice you neighbors "puttering' about in their yards based on your inspiration.

Get involved: Do you have a local neighborhood group and are they focusing on preservation? Get involved. If there is no group, start one! Something as simple as a block club.

Education: Talk to your neighbors they Will probably have questions about your restoration or maybe a question about a problem they have with their house. Give advice and if you don't know the answer steer them to CPA for advice.

Public relations: Post a picture of your house as wallpaper on your PC at work. Engage your coworkers in conversations about historic homes. If you read an online news posting and see an uninformed post about something dealing with old houses get involved and respond.

Advocacy and lobbying: Ask the candidates for council their view on preservation. Let them know that your vote is dependent on their answers. Get to know your local inspector and let him know that you want to see homes restored not bulldozed.

Local Preservation has had some small victories this year lets continue the trend.


Bob said...

Here's what happens when you DON'T care about historic preservation (I'm pretty sure this was a Samuel Hannaford house, too):

Makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

If you want to get sick and go into a coma, look at what IS happening to Hannaford's Burkhart house in Avondale.

There should be out cries and action taken for this house from the higher powers before it is too late - but NOTHING, NOTHING, NOTHING.