HOPE Crew: Lessons From a Year in the Field

Posted on: March 3rd, 2015 by Monica Rhodes 1 Comment

 

Corpsmembers from Earth Conservation Corps work to repair Grandview, an 1859 farmhouse. | Credit: John Boal

Corpsmembers from Earth Conservation Corps work to repair Grandview, an 1859 farmhouse. | Credit: John Boal

Last year, The National Trust for Historic Preservation launched an initiative to train more young people and veterans in learning preservation crafts while helping to protect historic sites on public lands. Named “HOPE Crew” for “Hands-On Preservation Experience,” the program partnered with The Corps Network, an association of over one hundred service and conservation corps, to link preservation projects to the national youth corps movement. The program kicked off in Shenandoah National Park with the rehabilitation of Skyland Stables (1939) and received national media attention.

Since then, the program has steadily gained momentum. In just one year, the program has engaged more than 100 young people and veterans; helped support more than $3 million of preservation work in 18 states, 22 national parks, two national cemeteries and one National Trust site; and garnered more than 81 million media impressions. Corpsmembers have logged more than 20,000 hours and rehabilitated 37 structures and repaired 200 headstones.

As we move forward and prepare for another successful year, I thought it only right to step back, take a look, and share accomplishments and lessons learned that have made our program stronger and positioned for continued success in the coming year. Here are four key lessons learned from developing and managing a preservation program in a very short period of time while working with multiple partners. ... Read More →

Section 106: Through Your Eyes

Posted on: February 27th, 2015 by Elizabeth Byrd Wood No Comments

 

In her introduction to the 2012 Forum Journal on Section 106, National Trust president Stephanie Meeks notes that Section 106 requires federal agencies to “stop, look and listen” before jeopardizing historic resources. This valuable tool has saved thousands of historic sites across the country. But it only works as long as all players—preservationists and federal agencies—clearly understand Section 106 and their role in the process. As we approach the 50-year mark of the enactment of the National Historic Preservation Act and Section 106, the Preservation Leadership Forum has enlisted the help of preservation practitioners to take a close look at how Section 106 has worked over the past five decades.  In this post Elizabeth Byrd Wood, a staff member at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, takes a look at responses from an informal survey of preservationists who have been involved in Section 106 consultations.

An early Section 106 case involved proposed highway construction  through the French Quarter in New Orleans, which would have affected iconic landmarks such as the St. Louis Cathedral. | Courtesy Wikipedia Commons

An early Section 106 case involved proposed highway construction through the French Quarter in New Orleans, which would have affected iconic landmarks such as the St. Louis Cathedral. | Courtesy Wikipedia Commons

Last year, about 140,000 Section 106 reviews took place in states across the country. When the program first got underway in 1966, that annual number was much lower, but when you do the math, it still adds up to hundreds of thousands of reviews about federal actions and their impact on historic resources over the past 50 years. What have we learned? And how is the program working?1

To find out, we conducted an informal survey of preservationists who have been involved in Section 106 consultations and asked them to give us their thoughts on how the program is working and what might be improved upon in the future. Most respondents were old hats at Section 106, having worked in the field for more than 15 years. Over the course of their work, they have reviewed the potential effects from a wide variety of projects ranging from road realignments to irrigation ditches and from visitor centers to wind energy. They have worked with a long list of federal agencies—transportation, housing, defense, environment, communications, and land management, among others.... Read More →

Proving the Success of New York City’s Landmarks Law

Posted on: February 26th, 2015 by Special Contributor 1 Comment

 

LPC approved rooftop addition, Gansevoort Market Historic District. Morris Adjmi Architects, 2014 | Photo by:  Gregory Dietrich, photographer, 3/2/14.

LPC approved rooftop addition, Gansevoort Market Historic District.
Morris Adjmi Architects, 2014 | Photo by:
Gregory Dietrich, photographer, 3/2/14.

By Gregory Dietrich

In 1965, just two years after the demolition of New York’s Penn Station, the city’s mayor signed off on a new local preservation ordinance—now one of the strongest in the country. Since then, New York’s Landmarks Law has been a driving force in energizing the city, protecting the sites that revitalize neighborhoods, create jobs and encourage tourism. As the preservationist community celebrates the law’s 50th anniversary, however, it must again prove its worth. In the second (read the first post) of a two-post series Gregory Dietrich, preservation consultant, discusses a recent report on the success of the Landmarks Law.

Three years ago the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), a wealthy real estate lobbying and trade organization, launched a campaign to dismantle the landmarks law and the activities of the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). REBNY has been a vocal opponent of the landmarks law since 1964, claiming it would have debilitating effects on property rights and New York City's economy. More recently, it accelerated its opposition as LPC began designating several historic districts containing high-density residential and office buildings, while also identifying other buildings for landmark designation contained within a 73-block area of Midtown East that the city was targeting for re-zoning.

In 2013 REBNY published two reports: one, which alleged that LPC's designation and regulatory processes were arbitrary and that the designation of historic districts adversely affected economic development and property values, and the other, which alleged that district designation discouraged the creation and retention of affordable housing. In response, a grassroots coalition known as the Citizens Emergency Committee to Preserve Preservation (CECPP) took a proactive stance and sponsored a study that would respond to REBNY's multiple claims while also citing the multiple benefits of the city's landmarks law. Entitled "A Proven Success: How the New York City Landmarks Law and Process Benefit the City," the CECPP report was researched and written by Gregory Dietrich Preservation Consulting and completed in June 2014.

The following represents key findings of the report:

... Read More →