Analysis on repurposing structures will aid preservation arguments

Early last year, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund announced it had engaged the National Trust for Historic Preservation to conduct a county-wide analysis of Jacksonville’s historic districts and identify strategies to strengthen reuse of existing buildings throughout the community.

Following the February 2016 announcement, researchers from the National Trust were in town in November 2016 to gather data and tour the historic districts with Adrienne Burke, executive director for Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP) and Christina Parrish-Stone, executive director for Springfield Preservation and Revitalization (SPAR), among others.

“I’m excited about this for two reasons,” said Burke. “First, this information could help the urban core neighborhoods when it comes to land use and zoning issues. And, second, sometimes data speaks louder to city officials than quality of life arguments. We’ll be able to use this as a fact sheet to help preserve the historic districts.”

The $100,000 grant awarded by the Jessie Ball duPont Fund trustees will enable analysis of Jacksonville’s older and historic buildings, with specific data on age, size and character, and detailed maps. According to the Fund, the analysis also will evaluate the social, cultural and economic characteristics of building clusters and highlight areas where targeted reuse could positively influence community development.

“We are still very much in the ‘gathering’ phase,” said Mary Kress Littlepage, spokesperson for the Fund.

The National Trust analysis will complement both the Fund’s work in affordable housing as well as its work around energy conservation and sustainability. The Trust has performed similar analyses in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago and Detroit.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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