Wednesday, February 17, 2010

"Nagele-Merz House" website up

We have set up a separate website for the "Nagele-Merz House" also known as our Knox hill Cottage. This website contained the history of the house and chronicles some "finds' along the way such as stonework and of course the rare 1870's Neo Grec stenciling.

Normal restoration updates will still be posted here but we felt we needed a separate page to promote the history of the house. In fact as we research houses for our upcoming national Historic Registry Nomination for the Knox Hill Neighborhood we will be setting up other pages for other significant houses in our neighborhood, (there are dozens by the way). These webpages will eventually be linked to form a virtual walking tour of the neighborhood that one will be able to access via single webpage. That webpage will be posted on state and national preservation websites to help promote Cincinnati and our neighborhood to encourage others to come in and restore.

It also sends a message: Its easy to look at a building like city hall or the music hall or and area like Dayton street and say "That's Historic", it should be preserved". Cincinnati's history is more than just its grand public buildings or its mansions. Its about our neighborhoods and the people who built those grand mansion and ran businesses a hundred years ago.

Too many neighborhood like ours have been 'written off' by the city. Because they are 'economically disadvantaged' codeword for Section 8 "dumping grounds" when the downtown was emptied out for redevelopment. Now that those neighborhoods have been 'drained' and damaged, the section 8 is moving to the townships so we need to bulldoze the fragments of whats left.

It's not just Knox Hill, but its Price Hill, Sedamsville, Fairmount, Westwood, and others and at some point it has to stop. Our neighborhood is "under siege' by the city and its "Vacant Building Task Force" which has placed 41 properties in our neighborhood, mostly foreclosures, on the VBML /keep vacant list for things like a broken windows or a bad downspout. Our city inspectors are out of control, taking the easy way out rather than write repair orders and it needs to be stopped! Almost ALL of those buildings have no structural issues and are totally viable as housing. Local neighborhood groups must devote energy that could better be spent bringing in new homeowners to fighting a constant battle with city officials to stop demolitions. WE can bring new people in, people who want to buy and live in Knox Hill but the city does nothing to encourage it only discourages by setting up roadblocks that make it more difficult for people to buy houses. banks won't loan money on properties ordered kept vacant. Insurance companies will not insure them ( at least at any sort of affordable rates). What the city is doing with its Vacant building taskforce is "REDLINING" neighborhoods, and it is facilitating disinvestment at a time when we need investment.

Our neighborhood and others like it can be saved, Mt Adams and Columbia Tusculum were all endangered at some point and today we look back on them as success stories yet at one point there was allot of sentiment to demo large parts of them. Despite some renovations OTR is still hanging by a thread as the city continues to add properties to the condemn list.

Our house is just one example, had we not come along when we did and bought it , it would be vacant lot by now, paying no taxes, contributing nothing to the neighborhood and important history would be lost.

The National Trust has a program called THIS PLACE MATTERS, clearly our house matters as part of Cincinnati History. But does it Matter to city officials? It should!

No comments: