Written by Isabella Rosete
In October 2008 when the economic recession started, I decided to reach out to my community. At that time I met Dr. Enid Pinkney, a very well-known community activist and CEO for the Historic Hampton House Community Trust. Hampton House is located in a small neighborhood called Brownsville, which is a few blocks away from my house and a five minute drive from the Miami design district. I mentioned my background in architecture to Dr. Pinkney as well as my willingness to help in any way with the Historic Hampton House restoration. On December 17, 2008 I was nominated to serve as part of the Historic Hampton House Community Trust, Inc.
The Historic Hampton House project has brought me closer to the world of restoration. Today more than ever I realize how fascinated I have always been by old structures, pieces, stories, etc. My association with Hampton House enabled me to participate in the Diversity Scholarship Program at the National Preservation Conference. Being in Nashville at the 2009 conference was a very fulfilling experience. It was an honor to be surrounded by all the knowledgeable attendees and presenters.
When back in Miami at my first Historic Hampton House board meeting, I brought up two main points that became clear to me during the conference. First, turning old structures into museums is not a sustainable option in today’s world for restoration/rehabilitation; alternatives must be studied whenever possible. Second, a building that has suffered substantial damage must be monitored during restoration to comply with the Department of Interior standards in order to be eligible for National Registration of Historic Places. In general, these ideas have been well received. As we continue moving forward with the project, the construction documents are ready for permitting, a construction cost estimate has been prepared by the architects of record and there is a gap in funding. We believe that this can be resolved with Miami-Dade County County’s Building Better Communities General Obligation Bond Program (GOB) funds, grants and other contributions allowing construction to be finalized.
I will continue my efforts with the Hampton House Trust to see the plans realized for an active building at least 50% of which will be self sustained. Other features will include a jazz music education program in partnership with local Universities, museum exhibits of Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali and others to inspire visitors and a café/multipurpose room for entertaining. With the Hampton House project, Brownsville could become the Jazz district of Miami.
Isabella Rosete, an architectural designer based out of Miami, is a 2009 Diversity Scholar. She is a member of the Historic Hampton House Community Trust, Inc.
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