Soft Economy Creates Hard Challenges for Some Communities

Posted on: December 12th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

In November, the National Trust Main Street Center took the pulse of communities to gauge the economic health of commercial districts throughout the nation. We asked how the downturn of the national economy is affecting Main Street and what, if anything, is being done to counter negative impacts.

First, the good news. In a survey of 261 individuals in Main Street communities, 21 percent have not seen any significant business closures, reduction in sales, or stoppage of major development projects; seven percent even reported a thriving business district. On the other end of the spectrum, however, 33 percent of the survey respondents reported lower sales than this time last year, 27 percent have seen new and current development projects stall, and 24 percent have seen one or more businesses close.

While many survey participants have felt insulated from the nose dive in the stock market, they aren’t confident that their good fortune will last. The National Trust Main Street Center is compiling tips and resources for retailers and economic development organizations -- check back on Wednesday to take a look at this valuable information.

And in the meantime, when you're doing your holiday shopping, think local. Click here to find the closest Main Street district to you, or visit www.shopmainstreet.org to find specific Main Street retailers, whether you're heading down the block or shopping from the comfort of your living room. (Yes, Main Streets are in cyberspace.)

-- Andrea Dono

Andrea Dono is Associate Editor for the National Trust Main Street Center.

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 Mayor Roy D. Buol

Posted on: December 12th, 2008 by Jason Clement 1 Comment

 

Meet Mayor Buol of Dubuque, Iowa in our new Faces in Preservation series.

Meet Mayor Buol of Dubuque, Iowa, in our new Faces in Preservation series.

In politics, there's nothing more powerful than a personal story.

Think about it: From the start of the Iowa primaries until the final polls closed in Alaska, we heard a steady stream of stories about the concerned line worker in Michigan, the parents who couldn't afford college payments in California, and the single mom who waits tables as a second job in North Carolina. And really, who can forget the now infamous plumber who became an overnight political sensation?

These stories work because they give us something to sink our teeth - and our hearts - into, which is why the National Trust for Historic Preservation has launched a new series called Faces in Preservation. As a supplement to our official policy platform, this evolving collection of stories will introduce you and the incoming Obama Administration to the preservationists who are on the front lines of change in our communities and demonstrating that preservation is so much more than just standing in front of wrecking balls.

This week, we start with pioneers in sustainability who are proving that going green puts communities in the black. In anticipation of his Faces in Preservation profile, we had a chance to chat with Mayor Roy D. Buol of Dubuque, Iowa, about a project that is turning 17 downtown blocks of abandoned or misused industrial warehouses into a livable, walkable neighborhood that is green friendly and mixed use.

PreservationNation: What does sustainability mean to you?

We must remember the Native American proverb that says "We do not inherit the earth, we borrow it from our grandchildren." When I think about sustainability, I see the faces of my grandchildren. I see them in school, at the park, near the river, making crafts at the art museum or going to a festival in downtown. I see how connected they are to our community and the lessons that they are already learning about being stewards of this great city. Even at their young age, they are interacting and respecting the native species that make our bluffs so majestic, our prairies so open, and our creeks and rivers full of life. They are meeting new families that come to Dubuque and celebrating the richness that these families bring with traditions and cultures for us to enjoy. And they benefit from quality, local businesses that provide a means to raise healthy, productive families. Sustainability must be about creating stewardship in our children and grandchildren - a stewardship that emphasizes environmental integrity, social/cultural vibrancy and economic prosperity.

... 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.

 

Sam Jupiter, Jr. is 91 and has been cutting hair in Mid-City New Orleans for the past 20 years. Because of the VA and LSU's decision to tear down his neighborhood for a hospital complex, he's now in danger of losing the business he  purchased in 1988. When asked if he was going to fight to retain his livelihood he said, "I'm going to join with the people. We need help... We need plenty of help. I just hope we get that help."

Take a moment now to be the help that Mr. Jupiter is seeking. We're asking everyone concerned about these unnecessary demolitions to write to three  top decision-makers. Take action now!

Learn more about our fight to save Mid-City.

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. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

 

Howard Allen, a New Orleans native, fled the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and finally was able to come home in April. Now -- less than a year after he returned -- he's faced with being displaced once again, as his house is scheduled to be demolished to make way for new VA and LSU hospitals. He's shocked at the notion of having to leave again again, from a neighborhood where people are actively rebuilding.  "We've been going through this too long -- I don't think it's right," he says.

And we agree. Learn more about our fight to save Mid-City. Or, take action now!

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. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

 

Homeowner and New Orleans native Gayle Ruth was one of the first people to return to her historic home in the Lower Mid-City neighborhood after Hurricane Katrina. In the video below, she talks about the excitement that grew over time as people came back and renovated their homes -- and how all of their work may now be "for naught" as the area is the desired locale for a new hospital complex.

Learn more about our fight to save Mid-City. Or, take action now!

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. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.