Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Financial issues at the National Trust for Historic Preservation?

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a nonprofit organization operating as a national organization focused on promoting and supporting historic preservation. Originally it was a federally chartered agency, and received allocations from the federal government to promote its work. The organization owns a number of historic properties across the country, and is now a membership organization. It publishes Preservation Magazine, has a number of regional and field offices around the country, has an annual conference, initiatives around commercial district revitalization (National Main Street Center), is involved in financing some projects, advocates on preservation issues, and works with state- and local-level counterpart organizations, and publishes an annual list of key historic properties that may be threatened by demolition or neglect.

Gannett Newspapers' Lower Hudson Valley website reports on budget cuts to an NTHP-owned property there, in "Cuts at Lyndhurst to slash public tours," and states that they are part of a broader budgetary cutback for the organization. With the recession, many nonprofits have faced financial difficulties. Apparently the NTHP hasn't been able to avoid similar problems.

From the article:

Funding problems at the National Trust for Historic Preservation has led to major staff layoffs at Tarrytown-based Lyndhurst that are expected to curtail daily tours. And, there are suggestions that some portions of the 67 acre-site might be sold off.

Earlier this month staff was told of the elimination of five positions beginning with the director held by John Braunlein. Others on the layoff list were Curator Educators Judy Beil and Ira Stein; Manager of Communication Stephanie Brown and Office Manager Virginia Cassell.

The move is part of major restructuring and "a decision to move from a regional to a field office model of operations,"David J. Brown, executive vice president and chief preservation officer wrote in a Sept. 21 memo to National Trust staff. He identified Lyndhurst as one of four "challenged" sites. [emphasis added]

At Lyndhurst "regular daily tours and some public programming will be suspended ot allow full attention to the re-visioning process. The work at these sites is expected to yield innovative approaches to historic site management, which will be applicable to other historic sites nationwide," he continued in his memo. ...

Lyndhurst is known as one of the best examples of Gothic Revival architecture offering sweeping views of the Hudson River. It draws thousands of visitors each year for house and garden tours, hosts school groups and community events, and is touted by many tourist sites as an important destination. The landscaped property, once the home of industrialist Jay Gould, also runs weddings and special events, which are expected to continue as planned.

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