Thursday, October 21, 2010

Broadening the scope of Historic Preservation

We must broaden the scope of Historic Preservation efforts in Cincinnati. We do that by education, by marketing and demonstration that Preservation makes for a better economy and a better City of Cincinnati.

We must better educate the public about preservation and how it is an economic development tool effectively used by many cities. We do that in a variety of way. First we must educate our city officials about the value of preservation and we must insist that proper rules and procedures be followed. We must see to it that city inspectors understand and are educated about preservation standards. We need to broaden our outreach to young people and people of color. The face of Historic preservation in this city is almost exclusively white, and older. We need to educate young people about Preservation and we need to do it in school by setting up educational opportunities. Perhaps a  speaker program to go to schools and talk about Preservation. Few children in our public schools know the history of their community, that is unfortunate. We need to encourage Preservation education opportunities by setting up field trips to areas of the city with rich history and educating our young people. Exposure to preservation ideals at an early age fosters preservation interests in the future.

We need to use our social networking skills to promote Preservation opportunities in our neighborhood. Is there a house in your neighborhood that is for sale? You need to promote it, tell your friends, spread the word.
The key to turnaround of your neighborhood is dependent on bringing more preservation minded people to your block. Start a blog about your house restoration or if you have a particular historic or architectural  interest blog about that.

We need to promote our neighborhoods. We do that with websites, news articles and blogging. We might even do that by hosting Preservation open houses or with home tours. We don't say that no one will go look at houses in Price Hill , Fairmount or West End anymore. While its true some people won't come, some will and those are the people you need to reach out to. Take some friend  from the burbs to Findlay or a walk down Dayton street. Go for drive an explore the unique architecture with a friend. Open their eyes to your love of Preservation.

We also need to co-operate better. If there is a problem in one neighborhood where a historic property is threatened, then its our problem too. There is strength in numbers and most importantly the city needs to understand that  the days of business as usual are over.

Most importantly you need to get involved, get involved in your neighborhood, If you do not have a neighborhood group, start one. If you can volunteer for some preservation effort, do so. Most of all lead by example. Plant some flowers in your yard, take time to educate your neighbors about the value of maintaining historic windows,  explain why putting vinyl siding on their house is a bad idea.. Don't be afraid to ask questions of city officials and let them know your views about the value of preservation.

As we head into fall and winter we need to plan for next year and the Preservation Opportunities that await us, Restoring Cincinnati , one house at a time and it begins with each of us being involved.

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