Personally I hate the whole "year in review' concept as I always prefer to look forward but I think this has been a busy and interesting year and some brief discussion of it is necessary.
When 2009 rolled around we had already purchased our Cincinnati House. A down on it's luck 1871 Second Empire Victorian Cottage. When I look at the pictures we took when we bought it vs how it looks now I can see the progress. It has been a slow process, doing it right always is, but I am pleased with the direction the house is going. Of course in March (5 months after we bought the house) we were blindsided by a demand from the city we obtain a VBML based on their filing one in 2005 based on a broken window and an open door. 186 Emails, Countless phone calls, later we are no closer to resolution. The VBML system is clearly broken, the city is incapable of following their own ordinance the way it was intended and they have perverted a useful tool into a "revenue stream for the city. I expect ultimately some Federal Judge somewhere will eventually have to rule the VBML is Unconstitutional, discriminatory in its application, and is "Governmental redlining" of economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Its a shame to throw out the "baby with the bathwater" but sometimes that is the only way you get real change.
Our neighborhood is changing by leaps and bounds, more people coming in and restoring, a greater sense of community and community pride and the understanding that to turn around our neighborhood its strictly up to us. The city agenda and our agand a are totally different. I remain optimistic that Knox Hill Neighborhood Associtation will grow and prosper in 2010. We have given numerous 'tours' of our Neighborhood to local preservationists and members of the business and development community and interest remains high.
It has been a good "media year" for us. We had a mention in Cincinnati Magazine in Spring 2009. In the summer The Cincinnati Enquirer did a very positive article on our House restoration and our neighborhood. To end the year this blog was voted one of the best blogs in Cincinnati by Cincinnati Magazine. Who would have thought a blog about historic preservation and restoration would have made this list. It does indicate to me that this community understands the importance if Historic preservation, even if at times it appears the city government has no clue.
Our businesses Victorian Antiquities & Design, Restoration Consultants, and Gallery 1885 all did well this year. We consulted on a number of projects in several states and despite the fact I had cut back on my workload, the year was as profitable as the one before it. While we didn't find a commercial location to locate our Design showroom, antiques business, and gallery in this year our ecommerce venues picked up the slack and I think in 2010 we will find the right business location Either in OTR or perhaps Newport/Covington. I am keeping my options open.
So whats ahead for 2010? Well a lot! We will continue on the restoration of The Knox Hill Cottage (maybe we will win a preservation award in 2010?), We will continue with our efforts to get the Knox Hill Neighborhood declared a Historic District in 2010. We will continue to advocate for Historic preservation efforts and will continue our efforts to educate city officials on the economic development tool that preservation is and we will continue in our battle to see the city does what is right and encourage development not throw roadblocks at it.
We hope our Indianpolis house, a 1915 Craftsman Bungalow, (our last Indy project) sells in 2010. Like many in this country we have watched thee real estate market grind to a halt and hopefully 2010 will be better. Whether or not the Indy house sells we will be living full time in Cincinnati in 2010.
Of course the big goal is locating our business completely to Cincinnati and finding a location for our design center. We expect to roll our our line of historic stencils and ceiling medallions based on original Cincinnati designs and we hope to be the source for Victorian era antiques, fabrics, stencils and restoration items.
I will no doubt be the "thorn in the side" of city officials who are part of the 'good ole boy network" who prefer the status quo. They can either change the way they conduct business or they will wish they did. Despite the calls from people that I should plan a run for council, or the mayors office in the future, I have no plans, at this point, to pursue a political career as I feel I can get more done working outside of government. I will continue to advocate for preservation in 2010 and will not accept NO for an acceptable answer when it comes to preservation issues.
I also look forward to March, when Greg and I will celebrate a decade together. We have made so many new friends in the preservation community, we have great neighbors and many new friends. This Blog is now read by close to 100000 people across the country each month.
2010 Should be a banner year