331 Prescott Street, a property once owned by Joseph Allonas, a superintendent of the Aultman and Taylor Company who made agricultural machinery and was a major factor in the Mansfield economy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Allonas was responsible for and patented a clover hulling attachment for the threshers manufactured by his company.
Because of that Association, the city should find alternatives to demolition. That would likely not have happened just a few months ago.
Mansfield was sent that opinion in a letter from Mark J. Epstein, head of the Resource Protection and Review Department.
331 Prescott was among 57 on the city's demolition list but was pulled in November after local preservationists determined it was one of three that possibly were worth review for historic value.
The Richland County Historical Society and Downtown Mansfield were granted third party review status in November after $1.6 million in federal funds were suspended because the city didn't have a signed agreement with at least one local group interested in historic review. Consulting party status" can and must be bestowed on groups with "standing" and that each must be dealt with by the city
By comparison the City of Cincinnati had thousands on its demo List which may have not been properly reviewed and No one , no neighborhood group not even CDA has standing as Consulting Party Status.
Epstein stated in his opinion. "While the house has suffered from years of deferred maintenance, it is our opinion that it retains sufficient integrity to be eligible for listing in the NRHP."
He went stated that Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires the city first consider alternatives that would avoid or minimize any adverse effect of demolition. The process should involve an analysis of objective cost estimates for rehabilitation that would allow the house to meet local code and comparing the estimates with demolition costs.
Epstein said if rehabilitation of the building is not feasible for economic or other reasons, he said the house could be demolished once the city, Ohio Historic Preservation Office and consulting parties agree. Local Preservationists have said progress has already been made to secure a new owner and land bank it.
As I reported yesterday the City of Cincinnati seems to have no process for review nor, a signed agreement with a Consulting party interested in Historic review just like Mansfield did.The Preservation Act codifies public "participation" and is not happening in Cincinnati because the city has no real process in place for that to happen.
Cincinnati Preservation Association has been trying throughout 2009 to find out the city process for review with limited response. As President of a local neighborhood association whose bylaws clearly state the purpose of the organization is the Historic Preservation of homes within the Knox Hill Neighborhood Boundaries we have no voice in the process because there is none.
Our only avenue is to comment at the "Nuisance Board Hearing" in which according to Ed Cunningham in his email response to me the city has already determined a property is not eligible. Review and public comment on that review should happen BEFORE properties are "rubber stamped' for demolition by the Nuisance Hearing Board which in my opinion has a serious "conflict of interest" by being staffed with city department employees who supervise the very inspectors bringing the nuisance request.
Hundreds of properties on Cincinnati's Demo list could be saved if proper review was done and most could be stabilized for less than the cost of demolition.