Tuesday, April 27, 2010

May is Historic Preservation Month!

May 4 – Preservation 101

Tuesday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Historic DeKalb County Courthouse,Decatur New to Preservation? Or just need to brush up? Learn about the many services and programs provided by the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources,The Georgia Trust and the DeKalb History Center. To register please visit www.gashpo.org/content/displaycontent.asp?txtDocument=389.

Thursdays in May – Preservation Month Lecture Series

Thursdays, 5:45 p.m., Rhodes Hall, 1516 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta Preservation Month headliners include Richard Cloues (5/6), Section Chief and Deputy SHPO of HPD/DNR; Mark C. McDonald (5/13 at Hay House, Macon; 5/20 at Rhodes Hall), President and CEO of The Georgia Trust; Jim Cothran (5/27), Vice President of Robert and Company’s Planning and Landscape Architecture Studio in Atlanta. Lecture events are FREE and open to the public. For more information and to RSVP, visit www.GeorgiaTrust.org. Free parking is available behind Rhodes Hall at 1495 Spring Street.

May 8 – Morris Brown Places in Peril Workday

Saturday, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., 643 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Atlanta Calling all hands on deck! The Georgia Trust and the Morris Brown College family are partnering to stabilize, protect and preserve the historic buildings located on the Morris Brown College campus, and we want YOU to be a part of it! The main goal is to mothball Fountain Hall (c. 1882), the campus’ oldest building. Learn more about preservation efforts and help us preserve this National Historic Landmark. RSVP to Jordan Poole, jpoole@GeorgiaTrust.org, 706-506-9864.

May 22 – The Georgia Trust’s Uptown Rhodes Race 5K

Saturday, 8 a.m., Rhodes Hall, 1516 Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta Come out and run (or walk) with history. This dog and stroller-friendly run/walk event will start at Rhodes Hall and go through the historic neighborhoods of Ansley Park and Sherwood Forest, allowing runners to pass by some of Atlanta’s most historically signifi cant houses, including ones designed by famed architects Neel Reid and Philip Shutze. $20 before May 7, $25 thereafter. Register at www.active.com.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

GaPA Thursday

In recognition of Earth Day, we thought we’d take a moment to review recent legislative activity that highlights the role of historic preservation in the green movement. Here are a few recent examples from the federal level:

§ On Friday, April 16, the Obama Administration hosted a White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors. The conference included the chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, ranchers, farmers, state and local government leaders, Tribal leaders, conservationists, preservationists, business representatives and more, who gathered to discuss the outdoors as an integral part of their communities. During the discussion, two major challenges were identified for developing a 21st century conservation agenda: maintaining and creating great urban parks, and enhancing the nation’s rivers, waterways and rural landscapes by working with private landowners and ranchers. An emphasis was also placed on reconnecting open space and lands that have been fragmented by development

§ HR 4989, the “Federal Buildings Designs Standard Act of 2009” was introduced by Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA) on March 25th that would require all federal agencies to consider the life-cycle costs during the design of federal buildings. These costs include investment, capital, installation, energy, operating, maintenance and replacement costs. The National Trust is currently reviewing HR 4989 for potential opportunities to expand the life-cycle analysis agenda to consider the rehabilitation of existing structures as well as new construction.

§ The National Trust reports that they recently “submitted testimony for the record to the House Ways and Means Committee espousing the benefits of historic preservation to the green economy as well as a key energy efficiency retrofit amendment included as past of the Community Restoration and Revitalization Act (HR 3715/S. 1743)”. The National Trust’s energy-efficiency amendment, which would boost the existing federal rehabilitation tax credit to provide an additional $2-$5 per square foot depending on energy savings, was emphasized during the testimony. It was reported that Section 10 of the bill allows for combining renewable energy tax credits with historic preservation tax credits for the highest possible energy reductions. So far, HR 3715 has 70 co-sponsors in the House and S. 1743 has six co-sponsors in the Senate.

§ During a committee review of HUD’s budget priorities on April 15th, Senate Banking Committee chair Christopher Dodd (D-CT) expressed his sponsorship of the Livable Communities Act (S. 1619). This bill would authorize challenge grants to integrate transportation, housing, energy, and economic development activities carried out across policy and governmental jurisdictions; promote sustainable and location-efficient development; and implement projects identified in a comprehensive regional plan. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan also addressed the need to attract private capital and equity into refurbishing existing housing stock during the committee’s review.

§ The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the House version of the HOME STAR bill (HR 5019). This bill includes a storm window replacement rebate of up to $1,000 for historic buildings. The program includes labor and material costs for a minimum of five and maximum of twelve windows which “comply with any procedures that the Secretary may set for storm windows and their instillation”.

§ On March 20th the House passed the Public Lands Service Corps Act of 2009 (HR 1612) with amendments. This bill expands the authorization of opportunities for young Americans to be involved with restoring the nation’s natural, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational and scenic resources. Increased funding of the program will help prepare future public land managers and will promote the value of public service.

§ The National Trust’s Center for State and Local Policy recently released its report on schools. The report, produced in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency, suggests ways to ensure that communities- when making school closing, consolidation and site selection decisions- weigh educational, health, environmental, community and fiscal considerations.


For more information about GaPA contact Kate Ryan, Programs Manager at The Georgia Trust, at kryan@georgiatrust.org

Member Spotlight

Every preservation project is unique, with its own particular quirks, challenges, and needs. It is because of this that finding the right person for rehabilitation efforts is essential- preservation is essentially stewardship. In Tommy Littleton, Howard Finster's Paradise Gardens, one of the Trust's 2010 Places in Peril, has found a fitting custodian and advocate.

The Gardens were begun by Howard Finster in 1961 before he received his vision telling him to create sacred art in 1976. Years of compiled art make up the maze of structures and sculptures. Everything in the Gardens has a meaning. Incorporating all kinds of recycled materials into his art, Howard created a four acre masterpiece of folk art. It is a place that requires dual investments of time and resources, and Tommy Littleton has consistently proved he is glad to provide both.

Tommy is a business owner from Birmingham, Alabama and has loved Howard, his art, and Paradise Gardens for many years. Above all, however, Tommy appreciates Howard's ministry as a pastor, evangelist, preacher and prophet to the world through his art. Tommy is himself an evangelist and missionary, and has worked in outreach around the world. He helps with the Gardens and festivals, and misses Howard deeply. Tommy is glad, as well as grateful to serve as Chairman of the Board of Directors and as Chaplain of Paradise Gardens.

This Saturday Trust members and preservationists will have an incredible opportunity to help Paradise Gardens by participating in a work day. Join us in an exciting hands-on preservation opportunity! Play in the dirt while helping to preserve this unique folk art site. Contact Jordan Poole at 706-506-9864 or jpoole@georgiatrust.org for more information and to sign up.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Member Spotlight

Libby Levy is a humble powerhouse and a tremendous advocate for preservation efforts in Rome, Georgia. A member of the Trust for more than a decade, Libby is another example of the diversity of talent that highlights the Trust's membership. It is a credit to Libby that the Trust's Ramble this past weekend was a successful venture and a delightful trip. With her expertise in preservation and her knowledge of her adopted city, we at the Trust were all too happy to bow to Libby's expertise, her enthusiasm, and her obvious skill.

A talented artist, Libby has done wonderful work on projects throughout Rome. Her activism in her community is extensive, and her committment to her Rome's preservation and revitalization is absolute. She and her husband, Ira, are real assets to their community, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to recognize their efforts on behalf of the Trust and Georgia's historic resources.

This fall, the Trust will Ramble where we have never Rambled before- Atlanta! We hope you will mark your calendar's for the weekend of September 11th. Day passes will be available, and this promises to be a can't-miss event. Hotlanta may be a big city, but the in-town streets are quiet on weekends. You'll discover charming historic neighborhoods and beautiful community landmarks.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Come Ramble in Rome with the Georgia Trust!

Pack your bags and get ready for the 2010 Annual Meeting and Spring Ramble in Rome, Georgia!

Your adventure begins this Friday, April 9th at the handsomely restored Hawthorn Suites in downtown Rome where you will receive your registration packet and have the opportunity to view the ground floor of this fabulous restoration. Friday's Ramble will include many sites on Broad Street including the Rome Area History Museum and the newly renovated and restored Masonic Lodge. Friday evening, the 2010 Preservation Awards will be held at the historic DeSoto Theatre followed by dinner at a Georgia Trust Preservation Award winning site, Forrest Place.

Saturday will begin with breakfast and orientation at the Rome City Auditorium with a special presentation on the city's history by local history buff and avid volunteer, Anne Culpepper. Saturday's Ramble will feature the Between the Rivers Historic District as well as the site of Rome's naming, the Home on the Hill at Darlington School. Saturday dinner will be an authentic pig roast at Colonial Heights where Ramblers will have the opportunity to explore the home and the historic graveyard where it is said that the last casualty of the Civil Way is buried.

On Sunday, we will travel to Berry College to explore Martha Berry's life work. Sites will include Oak Hill, Frost Chapel, Barnwell Chapel, and the Ford Buildings. Brunch will be served at the Spruill Ballroom.

We hope to see you this weekend as we explore Georgia's Rome! To register please contact Mary Railey Binns at 404.885.7812 or mrbinns@georgiatrust.org. Online registration is available at www.GeorgiaTrust.org

Friday, April 2, 2010

GaPA Thursday

This week, we turn our attention to a few bills that may be of interest to preservation-minded GaPA Thursday followers.

In early March, President Obama stopped in Savanna to talk about a proposed program that would marry energy efficiency with job creation efforts. This program, known as HOMESTAR was considered by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee last week, leading to the panel’s approval of a $6 billion bill to include rebates for different products that homeowners can employ to reduce energy consumption. A version of the bill is expected to be introduced by the Senate in the near future.

Thanks to preservation lobbying efforts, both versions include rebates for storm window retrofitting to dissuade homeowners from tearing out significant original elements of their home.

In his National Trust for Historic Preservation blog, Pat Lally reports the following about the bill:

Here’s what it will provide specifically: 1) a storm window rebate for historic properties, capped at $1,000. The provision allows for $50 per storm window for a minimum of five windows and a maximum of 12 which comply with any procedures that the Secretary may set for storm windows and their installation. The rebate also covers labor and materials. When the Senate introduced its bill, we expect this provision to be identical.

By pushing for storm window incentives amid a host of replacement products, we’re trying to reward the owners of historic homes who chose to retrofit an existing historic window rather the replace it if replacement is unnecessary. This, we hope, will provide some level of “incentive equity” among the array of options facing homeowners of historic houses who truly want to save energy and reduce costs, but retain perfectly good elements of historic fabric. As the nation moves into a new way of looking at the way buildings perform and achieved greater efficiencies, historic properties need to be part of the solution with a seat at the table.

For more info, check out these two blog posts by The National Trust:

Lally Blog

Frey Blog

HB1049 supports economic development through Arts and Culture in Georgia. This bill could affect every county in Georgia by providing an economic development tool kit that will stabilize funding to arts and cultural organizations.

Here are some talking points about the bill that was favorably approved by the House Committee on March 22nd:

  • Arts and Culture contributes to the development and economic growth of communities across Georgia. A recent economic impact study of Arts and Culture in Georgia showed that the industry contributes $387 million per year to the state's economy. Groups surveyed had a total annual income of $722 million and $692 million per year in expenses, attracting an audience of 16 million people per year. Cultural groups contribute to the state's economy.
  • The Creative Industry in Georgia lost 5,756 jobs from 2008 to 2009. Based on current estimates in Georgia, another 8,800 jobs will be lost in 2010 without new funding. We cannot afford to lose more jobs in Georgia.
  • The arts & culture not only contribute to our local economy, but have a significant impact on the quality of education and the overall success of students.
  • For a solution that is completely determined by local voters, HB 1049 is a welcomed option for job creation, economic development, tourism, and stabilizing and important but fragile creative industry.

You can follow this and other bills through the Georgia General Assembly website.

And, as we mentioned before, the American Association of Museums is seeking support for funding the Institute of Museum and Library Services Office of Museum Services (funded through the Senate Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Subcommittee). Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) is currently circulating a bipartisan “Dear Colleague” appropriations letter requesting $50 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Ask your senators to sign on to the Gillibrand letter and support museums! Read more about the “Dear Colleague” letter and send your Senators a quick email through the American Association of Museums website.


Don’t forget about next week’s lecture at Georgia Tech on Historic Preservation and Sustainable Development presented by Donovan Rypkema. Mr. Rypkema’s expertise in the economics of preservation is sure to make for an interesting lecture that supports the message Preservation Equals Jobs!

For more information about GaPA contact Kate Ryan, Programs Manager at The Georgia Trust, at kryan@georgiatrust.org

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Member Spotlight

Developer Ira Levy, left, and Ann Arnold of the Rome Downtown and River Development Association

Preservation advocacy can shape the face and character of a town. In Ira Levy, Rome, Georgia has found a champion that appreciates his city's historic features and supports its thriving business community. This week, as we get ready to Ramble to Rome, The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is honored to have the opportunity to express our appreciation to Ira, a long-time board member and true preservationist.

Ira's investment in Rome has been significant, from his restoration of a downtown landmark now the Hawthorn Suites to his waste and recycling business. Ira and his wife, Libby, have always had a penchant for old buildings and have renovated numerous projects around the country including their first restoration, a 19th Century rowhouse in Chicago, IL. He moved with his family to Rome 25 years ago after the couple spied the city's Clocktower on a Sunday afternoon drive with their three children. They were so impressed with all that Rome and Floyd County had to offer that they made the move and never looked back.

All of us at the Trust are excited to Ramble with the Levy's in their beloved Rome. This year's Spring Ramble promises to be an unforgettable tour of no fewer than 12 historic homes and nearly 50 historic sites. Space is still available, and we hope you will join us this weekend.