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.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Historic Preservation Tuesday: HistoriCorps rehabilitates historic properties on federal lands

The previous entry discusses various best practice initiatives for neighborhood revitalization in weak market communities.

The Christian Science Monitor "Change Agent" feature has an article ("HistoriCorps engages volunteers as a 'workforce for saving places': Volunteers help to 'save the last great places' while experiencing the great outdoors") on a similar model to Rebuilding Together, HistoriCorps, which has been created to facilitate repair of properties on federal lands. From the article:
“We are kind of a hybrid between a nonprofit construction company and an outdoor adventure company,” says Townsend Anderson, who has been part of HistoriCorps since 2011 and now serves as its executive director.

HistoriCorps mobilizes and engages a volunteer workforce to work on historic preservation projects on public and publicly accessible lands. Based in Denver, it manages projects throughout the country, assembling teams of volunteers and skilled tradespeople who provide training and supervision throughout a project.

“Over the course of a weekend, week, or summer volunteers have the opportunity to gain many valuable trades skills that they can apply to their personal and professional lives,” says the nonprofit group's website. While there is no fee to participate, travel to and from a project site is the responsibility of each volunteer.
The now nonprofit organization started as an initiative repairing buildings in the Pike-San Isabel National Forest in Salida, Colorado and has since taken on over 170 projects across the country.

The National Park Service has a multi-billion dollar backlog of unfunded repairs ("National Park Service delayed $11 billion in maintenance," Washington Post).  Likely the US Forest Service ("Forest Service accumulates costly trail maintenance backlog"), the Bureau of Land Management, and the Army Corps of Engineers ("Corps of Engineers: $60 billion backlog in projects," Lower have equivalently large unfunded repair and maintenance needs.

-- Federal Lands and Natural Resources: Overview and Selected Issues for the 113th Congress, Congressional Research Service

Relatedly, my points in "Town-city management: "We are all asset managers now"" can be extended more broadly to managing the federal lands portfolio.

So too my general point that "local parks plans" should make recommendations for all park and open space lands located within its jurisdictions, federal, state or other local/regional, first, because otherwise local resident-citizen concerns won't be adequately represented, and because you need contingency plans in place when circumstances change or when needs for improvement aren't likely to be funded by the parent organization any time soon.

-- Parks: maintenance, budgeting and contingency planning

For example, DC is paying to rehabilitate Franklin Square, a "local park" in Downtown, but a space that is under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.  See "It’s a federally owned square, but cost of revitalizing downtown Franklin Park will fall to D.C.," Washington Business Journal.

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