Radical Expansion of Limestone Quarry Threatens National Historical Park and Civil War Heritage

Posted on: December 19th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation urges the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to closely scrutinize plans for destructive quarry expansion

Over the strong objections of local residents and preservationists, Carmeuse Lime & Stone, a Belgium-based mining conglomerate, plans to radically expand its industrial mining operation on battlefield land and immediately adjacent to the Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley.

Although experts agree that the expanded quarry will devastate the historic landscape, Civil War battlefield, National Park, and historic Middletown, the Frederick County (VA) Board of Supervisors voted in May 2008 to rezone the agricultural landscape and double the size of the extractive mining operation. (Frederick County’s historic preservation commission and planning board opposed the quarry expansion.) Carmeuse Lime & Stone is proceeding without protecting its neighbors or historic resources.

The quarry expansion will require approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. On December 18, 2008, the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation wrote to the Army Corps of Engineers to:

  • Inform the Army Corps of Engineers that the quarry expansion threatens potential harm the National Park, National Historic Landmark, Civil War battlefield, and historic Middletown -- from intensive visual pollution, blasting, dust, and quarry truck traffic.
  • Warn that 60 percent of the unspoiled agricultural land which Carmeuse Lime & Stone plans to blast and bulldoze actually is “core battlefield” according to the authoritative 1992 National Park Service Study of Civil War Sites in the Shenandoah Valley.
  • Recommend that the Army Corps of Engineers now initiate the mandatory federal review to protect historic resources pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. This review and consultation affords the quarry owner, government agencies, concerned members of the public, and the quarry’s embattled neighbors a critical opportunity to find creative ways to avoid or reduce harm to historic resources from the quarry expansion.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation owns Belle Grove Plantation, a National Historical Landmark and the heart of the National Historical Park. U.S. Congressman Frank Wolf and Senator John Warner were early and steady champions for establishment in 2002 of the Cedar Creek & Belle Grove National Historical Park.

An active coalition of preservation groups continues to fight the unnecessary destruction of historic resources and Civil War battlefield by Carmeuse Lime & Stone, including: Belle Grove, Inc., Preserve Frederick, Civil War Preservation Trust, National Parks Conservation Association, APVA Preservation Virginia, Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, Shenandoah Valley Network, and National Trust for Historic Preservation.

We remain very grateful for the strong support of the National Park Service, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

-- Robert Nieweg

Robert Nieweg is the Director of the Southern Field Office of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Spicing Up a Stately Mansion: New Life for a Forgotten Estate

Posted on: December 19th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 3 Comments

 

Photo: Mario Quiroz

Groundbreaking at the mansion. (Photo: Mario Quiroz)

Our colleagues at the National Trust Community Investment Corporation (NTCIC) are celebrating an important milestone in a fantastic project that brings historic preservation, green building and community development together under one roof. For the past years we’ve counseled nonprofit organization CASA de Maryland on how to finance and structure their rehabilitation of a neglected Georgian Revival mansion in Langley Park into a multicultural center for Latino and immigrant populations. Bank of America and Enterprise Community Investment recently closed on a $4 million historic and New Markets Tax Credit equity investment in the project, thanks in large part to the legal and accounting groundwork laid by our tax credit experts.

We have good reason to be a proud partner on this project. Built in 1924, the mansion was originally the centerpiece of a vast estate owned by the family known for McCormick Spices. Decades later, the McCormick-Goodhart Mansion is now at the heart of a bustling community where one hundred languages are spoken at its elementary school and per capita income is just $11,300. CASA de Maryland has already begun work to transform the dilapidated mansion into a vibrant multicultural center that caters to the vast and growing needs of the immigrant and minority communities that surround it.

From its strategic location, CASA will offer skills training, education, and leadership development to increase the self-sufficiency, competency and financial capacity of low-wage Latino and immigrant families locally and statewide. The relocation to the mansion allows CASA to expand its size at a time when demand for its services is at an all-time high. The nonprofit anticipates serving 6,000 to 10,000 individuals and families per year from its new address. The Multicultural Center will also act as an incubator for small nonprofits that support populations not typically served by CASA, including African and Asian immigrants.

We also appreciate CASA’s pursuit of LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Plans include several green roofs, controllable lighting and heating systems, low-emitting materials, water-efficient landscaping and a geothermal HVAC system. CASA plans to expand its community education work to focus on respect for and protection of the environment as well.

Construction is projected to last 12-14 months and CASA anticipates calling the McCormick-Goodhart Mansion home by early 2010.

-- Erica Stewart

Erica Stewart is the outreach coordinator for the Community Revitalization department at the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

 

Kevin Krause came to New Orleans as an Americorps volunteer after Hurricane Katrina. He spent a year helping people restore their homes and eventually, he and his wife bought one for themselves. When it comes to the idea of losing his home to the new VA/LSU hospital complex he says, "It's depressing. It's... criminal." Kevin finds particularly unfortunate the government's belief that Mid-City is anything other than blighted buildings -- "they refuse to see the people who live in this neighborhood."

Kevin's video ends with a plea: "We’re sending out an SOS to anyone who can hear us. We need help and we need it now."

You can help -- take action today!

Learn more about our efforts to save Mid-City New Orleans.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class.

As BLM Lease Sale Looms, Advocates Press to Save Nine Mile Canyon and Other Public Lands from Drilling

Posted on: December 18th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

An example of the Native American rock art in Nine Mile Canyon.

An example of the Native American rock art in Nine Mile Canyon.

Yesterday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and a coalition of environmental groups joined actor Robert Redford and Congressman Brian Baird (D-Wash.) in a press conference organized by environmental, historic preservation and business groups who oppose a controversial oil and gas lease sale set for December 19th. Several parcels included in this sale are on relatively pristine lands near Nine Mile Canyon, which the Bureau of Land Management acknowledges has the highest concentration of Native American rock art in the United States.

Dave Albersworth (The Wilderness Society), Pat Mitchell (Grand Canyon Trust), and Ti Hays (National Trust for Historic Preservation) listen to Robert Redford speak.

Dave Albersworth (The Wilderness Society), Pat Mitchell (Grand Canyon Trust), and Ti Hays (National Trust for Historic Preservation) listen to Robert Redford.

Redford spoke reverently of the Utah wild lands endangered by the proposed leasing and sharply rebuked BLM’s decision to go forward with the sale. He at one point referred to the decision makers with BLM as “morally criminal.” Rep. Baird, who grew up in Fruita, Colorado, just a few miles from the Utah border, also spoke fondly of his time among the canyons for which so many cherish the Utah public lands. He rightly reminded the audience that although the lease sale involves land within the State of Utah, the land is owned and managed by the federal government on behalf of the American people. In light of the national interest in protecting the cultural and natural resources affected by the proposed leases, he called on BLM to cancel the sale.

Also yesterday, the National Trust -- along with many of the groups that held the press conference -- filed a complaint in federal court challenging the lease sale scheduled for December 19th. The complaint claims that, in deciding to sell additional leases near Nine Mile Canyon, BLM has failed to consult and adequately assess effects on historic properties under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The complaint also alleges violations of the National Environmental Policy Act and Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Faces in Preservation: Meet Adaptive Reuse Pro John Greer

Posted on: December 18th, 2008 by Jason Clement 1 Comment

 

Meet John Greer and learn about his reuse project that defied the odds in our new Faces in Preservation series.

Sometimes the biggest challenge in reusing a historic building is not adapting its irreplaceable features, but convincing those who will ultimately use the building that you're not crazy.

In addition to dealing with ductwork and tricky floor-to-floor heights, Little Rock-based architect John Greer also had to contend with a steady chorus of dissent from those who thought a K-12 charter school in an abandoned downtown newspaper plant simply couldn't be done.

In anticipation of his recent Faces in Preservation profile, we had a chance to chat with the reuse pro himself about his unique project and some of the challenges he encountered along the way.

PreservationNation: Why do you think the idea of a downtown K-12 school was so hard for people to get their heads around? What were some of the initial criticisms of the project? 

In general, people don’t know how to handle change. The adjacent hotel was concerned about noise from the playground early in the morning when their patrons would be trying to sleep. The neighboring office buildings were happy with the quiet city street with the vacant building next door. They had plenty of parking at any given time of the day. They didn’t have to worry about traffic getting in and out of their buildings. There was no noise from screaming kids, bouncing balls on the playground, teachers with whistles...the list goes on. The reality of it is that, with the help of the city traffic engineers and the willingness of city leaders to embrace change, traffic flows quite well. Now, the first week was somewhat difficult, but once people got in a groove and got their pick-up and drop-off times coordinated, it worked quite well. And the hotel worked out an agreement with school administrators that the first recess would be delayed until after 9:30 a.m.

PreservationNation: Why was the Arkansas Gazette Building a perfect fit for the eStem Charter School?

The floor plan lent itself to a very open arrangement of classrooms along the perimeter encircling a central lightwell. There are so many exterior windows that we were able to provide abundant natural light in all but just a few classrooms. The introduction of natural light into these rooms has created an environment that is very conducive to the students. The charter school is the first school in our area to adopt an eight-hour school day. To subject a student to eight hours of intense learning without natural light is not an environment that is conducive to learning. Location is also key. It is within a three-block walk to the main public library. It is four blocks from a performing arts theater. And best of all, it is centrally located in the business district to allow working parents to drop off and pick up in close proximity to their work.

... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.