It’s been a busy week for preservation items at Winchester City Council, but in a positive way. First, an amendment to Winchester’s Community Development Block Grant Action Plan to allow for historic preservation and rehabilitation was approved. The target area of this grant is likely to be North Kent Street. As the potential activity sites are privately owned, no details were available on Tuesday evening, but North End residents should expect more input sessions in the future.
Similarly, the derelict and blighted property designation for 137 South Loudoun has been continued until May 9 to allow the owners time to present their plans to BAR and show action on remedying the site issues. You may remember plans had been submitted and approved by BAR several years ago, but the owners faced financing complications due to the pandemic. It appears they have rebounded financially and we should see them at a BAR meeting in early April. (This group is also behind the pending rehab at the old Winchester News Stand building on East Piccadilly, and previously rehabbed the Guitar Shop building on South Loudoun.)
PHW was very encouraged to hear on Tuesday that many councilors were mindful of the historic significance of both the South Loudoun Street building and the North Kent Street neighborhood. Older buildings, particularly those that have a long history of community cultural and artistic uses, are deserving of more leeway when repurposing or recovering from disasters and often become points of pride when the projects are completed. We’re definitely encouraged by this fresh perspective on City Council for our historic resources and hope to see it continue.
Researchers, are you looking for a collection of primary sources and classroom activities relating to Emancipation in our area? Shenandoah University’s McCormick Civil War Institute has launched the Emancipation Celebrations website. There is both a search function if you know what you’re looking for, or a browse collection option if you want to be surprised.
This week is also Flood Awareness Week in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s website has information before and after flooding occurs to help you prepare and minimize problems and recover from the aftermath. If you’re curious about other long-range flood or climate change related possibilities, You may also want to visit Lifehacker’s similar article with three additional interactive mapping tools, which also have options for heat, drought, wind, and wildfires.