First, we would like to announce we have about ten artisans confirmed for Bough and Dough Shop. However, we believe we can still fit in a few more. On our current wishlist is:
- Textile artist who does felted or woven pieces/ornaments
- Greenery artist to make wreaths, centerpieces, swags, etc., using your own or the cut greenery at the Shop (after Thanksgiving)
- Surprise us! We’re always open to new ideas for handmade, quality artisan goods.
Now, to the meat of this Friday post, and a sentiment we heard from the last speaker at the public hearing concerning the Piccadilly and Kent Street development plans: preservation of historic neighborhoods and community revitalization go hand in hand. The National Trust publication Rebuilding Community: A Best Practices Toolkit for Historic Preservation and Redevelopment states:
When disinvestment, poor maintenance and abandonment leave a neighborhood pock marked with vacant or dilapidated buildings, public officials and citizens often seek a quick solution to the community’s woes by razing the deteriorated structures. Demolition may effect a dramatic change in the neighborhood’s appearance, but it’s rarely a change for the better. Years of experience, much of it forged in the crucible of misguided programs such as urban renewal, have clearly demonstrated the folly of destroying a place in order to save it.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation believes there is a better way. Having encouraged and assisted neighborhood revitalization efforts in cities and towns all over America, we are convinced that the best way to restore vitality and livability to a community is to build on its strengths, to save and enhance the character and ambience that make each neighborhood unique, to preserve and celebrate the tangible evidence of the community’s history instead of smashing it to rubble and carting it off to the landfill.
Similarly, Tom Mayes in Why Do Old Places Matter? Community points out the problems of wiping away historic places and assuming a thriving community will rise from it:
Yet something critically important is often overlooked, and that is the idea that the development of a real community takes time. Community develops through the interaction between people and place over time. We cannot build a community—we can only foster the conditions in which communities can grow and thrive. Community occurs in the organic interaction between people and place. And over time, these communities typically develop with a diversity of ages, incomes, and ethnicities.
Building a new structure won’t make it futureproof for decline, and when the time comes when it inevitably needs maintenance, the historic associations, memories, and stories tied to places like 202 E. Piccadilly Street that make it an interesting and valuable place are gone. Like the Winchester Towers, a building “without roots” like this is likely to be demolished, again, perpetuating the cycle. Donovan Rypkema is the premiere authority on green building and the economics of historic preservation, and while both the transcription and video are long, check out Donovan Rypkema Discusses The Economics Of Historic Preservation for some further insight on how historic preservation is a key component to successful revitalization of cities and neighborhoods.
There is an assumption historic preservation and affordable housing are mutually exclusive, but that is not the case at all. Many of the HUD programs to support affordable housing can be partnered with preservation tools like the historic tax credit. We encourage anyone interested in this to read through the short booklet Affordable Housing and Historic Preservation, particularly the implementation principles on page 6 and explained in more depth through the booklet. We would particularly direct your attention to point IV, further detailed on page 10. All preservation practices direct the impact of demolition within a historic district to examine not just a single building, but its impact on the rest of its neighbors: “If the affected historic property is a historic district, the agency official should assess effects on the historic district as a whole.”
While we wait for City Council’s decision, I will leave you with a transcript, additional information, and video of Using the Historic Tax Credit for Affordable Housing.