News from the Field: New Orleans

Posted on: October 1st, 2007 by Walter Gallas

 

When the city of New Orleans began its demolition program early in 2006, the National Trust was among the interested parties who came to the table to help draft the procedures which would ensure that historic properties were adequately reviewed by FEMA and protected if possible. Sixteen months later, I was at the table again, this time to talk about how things have gone so far and what needs to be revised. The revisions are prompted because as of September 30, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is no longer the demolition contractor. These responsibilities will now fall to the City of New Orleans.

FEMA’s Historic Preservation staff reported that of the 9,000 properties proposed for demolition by the city using FEMA funds, 780 (nine percent) were determined to be National Register eligible. The good news is that one-third of these National Register eligible properties were removed from the demolition list as a result of the process we helped lay out to force the consideration of alternatives to demolition. Nevertheless, this still leaves 522 historic properties on the demolition list. About 100 of these have been selectively salvaged to date—again a provision of the agreement. The city is not ready to take on the demolition process, so any progress we have made so far could be stalled.

Walter Gallas is director of the New Orleans Field Office.

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.

Kansas Mall To Replace Last House on the Block

Posted on: October 1st, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Strasser HouseIn Manhattan, Kan., the fight to save the last house in a neighborhood lost to a shopping center soon may lose its footing.

Built in 1874, the limestone Phillipena J. Strasser House is the last in a residential area that consisted of late 19th- to mid-20th-century limestone abodes.

Last year, Omaha-based developer Dial Realty purchased the property, adjacent to Manhattan's original downtown area, and began construction on a shopping center and senior living community. Dial has leveled everything except for the Strasser House. Recently, Dial announced plans to move the house down the block.

"The Strasser House is in poor repair," says Rick Kiolbasa, partner at Dial Realty, who notes that fire and termite damage have led to the house's deteriorated condition. Kiolbasa says Dial never planned to demolish the Strasser House. "We'd always wanted to save the house in some form, but we never knew exactly what the shopping center would look like and where it could fit in." Kiolbasa adds that Dial plans on rehabilitating the house, possibly for use as office space.... 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.

Public Outcry Slows Tomb Process

Posted on: September 28th, 2007 by Sarah Heffern

 

There is some positive news to report concerning the Trust’s efforts to convince public officials to preserve, not replace, the Tomb of the Unknowns. This week—in response to public uproar—the Senate adopted an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (H.R. 1585) that would delay any hasty action regarding the Tomb of the Unknowns. Even though the Senate will not finalize the measure before the Army’s September 30th deadline, the outcry over the Cemetery’s plan and the resulting interest in Congress has forced the Army to delay action.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Akaka (D-HI) and cosponsored by Senator Webb (D-VA), also requires the Secretaries of the Army and Veterans Affairs to determine the feasibility of repairing, rather than replacing, the monument and to report the findings to Congress.

Click here for more information on this issue—and to find out how to lend your support to the cause to save the original, authentic Tomb, one of our most important war memorials and our only national monument to those who fought in World War I.

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.

High-Voltage Debate

Posted on: September 28th, 2007 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Virginia power linesThe Northeast's longest free-flowing river, the Upper Delaware River, meanders from Hancock, N.Y., to Matamoras, Pa. Bald eagles make this a popular bird-watching spot. Abundant fish lure fly fishermen, and Class II and III rapids attract kayakers. Congress, recognizing the natural beauty of this area, set aside the Upper Delaware Wild and Scenic River for protection under the National Parks System in 1978. The area, 90 minutes from New York City, "is pristine and gorgeous," says Michael Schmidt, a kayaker and regular park visitor. "It is one of the most tranquil parts of the country I have ever been to."

But the area is just one of the many historic and scenic places that may soon have a new neighbor: a 500-kilovolt transmission line some 160 feet overhead. New York Regional Interconnect, Inc. has proposed a 190-mile line from central New York to the lower Hudson Valley to alleviate energy congestion in the Northeast. The preferred route in some sections follows a gas pipeline—a right of way that predates the park—and passes through four miles of ridge top along the river and a mile-long section of the canal.

Not surprisingly, local and national organizations have been actively opposing the line. "If someone was fly fishing on the river or recreating on the park site, they will look up and shadows will be cast down on the river and in the valley by these 160-foot towers," says Bryan Faehner, legislative representative at the National Parks Conservation Association.

Similar battles are taking place in eight eastern states. ... 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.

Beyond Green Building: Morning Round-Up

Posted on: September 28th, 2007 by Patrice Frey

 

Unnatural Disaster: Global Warming and our National Parks -- From National Parks Conservation Association Press Release. Global warming has escalated the risk of wildfire to national parks including Sequoia and Kings Canyon and Yosemite.

Our Moral Footprint – NYT.  Former Czech President  Vaclav Havel on climate change:  “We can’t endlessly fool ourselves that nothing is wrong and that we can go on cheerfully pursuing our wasteful lifestyles, ignoring the climate threats and postponing a solution. Maybe there will be no major catastrophe in the coming years or decades. Who knows? But that doesn’t relieve us of responsibility toward future generations”

Billions Committed for Environment at  Clinton Global Initiative – ENS.  Today in New York, the opening day of the third annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, CGI, brought together some 1,000 leaders of business, government and nongovernmental organizations from over 70 countries, including 52 current and former heads of state, who made commitments focusing on the Initiative's four focus areas: education, energy and climate change, global health and poverty alleviation.   

Economic Models Overestimate the Costs of Energy and Climate Polices – Sustainable Business. Testifying today at the U.S. House Science Subcommittee on Research and Science Education today, ACEEE Senior Economist for Technology Policy John A. "Skip" Laitner said that "most current economic policy models substantially overestimate the costs of energy and climate policies, because they consistently overlook the economic benefits of energy savings from accelerated adoption of energy-efficient technologies, changing social preferences, and more energy-aware behaviors." 

Britain to start phasing out high energy lightbulbs - Reuters.  Britain will begin phasing out energy-guzzling incandescent lightbulbs early next year in favor of low energy varieties as part of its battle against climate change, the environment ministry said on Thursday 

PG&E And Start-up To Create Giant Solar Projects - Reuters - Two of the nation's biggest power companies are teaming up with a solar start-up to create one of the world's largest solar power projects, which they say could make electricity at a competitive price.

Prius A No, No - Peugeot, Citroen And Ford Are All Greener, Says New Study – Environmental Graffiti. It looks like bad news for the Toyota Prius. A joint study between Cardiff University and Clifford Thames an automotive consultancy revealed tht far from being the greenest of the bunch, the Prius lagged behind the likes of Peugeot, Citroën, Ford, Smart, and other cars in a new environmental rating system. 

Climate Change Bill Calls for 50-cent Fuel Tax – ENN. U.S. drivers would pay a 50-cent tax on each gallon of gasoline they pump to encourage less fuel use and cut greenhouse gas emissions, under draft legislation to fight global warming released on Thursday.  

Arctic Thaw May be at "Tipping Point" – ENN. A  record melt of Arctic summer sea ice this month may be a sign that global warming is reaching a critical trigger point that could accelerate the northern thaw, some scientists say. 

Bush Under Pressure at Climate Change Conference – ENN.  President George W. Bush kicks off the second day of a conference on global warming on Friday under pressure from the world's major economies to accept binding limits on emissions of greenhouse gases. 

China Starts Countdown To Save Biodiversity By 2010 – ENN. As the rate of biodiversity loss accelerates worldwide, civil society organizations and governments are joining forces to fight the global extinction crisis.  On September 7 in
Beijing, twenty Chinese and international organizations signed the Countdown 2010 declaration, committing themselves to additional efforts to reduce biodiversity loss by the year 2010.  http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/23421

EU Struggles To Walk Its Talk On Climate Change – ENN. The European Union pressed world leaders this week to follow its lead in fighting climate change, but a battle looms at home over how to share the burden of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. 

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.