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News from the Preservation Trust
Save the Date!
Preservation Conference and honor Awards Luncheon, Isle La Motte, VT, Friday, June 12, 2009
The annual Historic Preservation Conference and honor Awards Luncheon will be in Isle La Motte on Friday, June 12, at St. Anne's Shrine. The Preservation Trust of Vermont and Vermont Division for Historic Preservation selected this site to participate in the 2009 Lake Champlain Quadricentennial. Isle La Motte is not only the site of Samuel de Champlain's landing in 1609 on what is now Vermont soil, but also the site of the earliest French fortification on U.S. soil. The area is rich in Native American, geological and architectural history.
This year's conference will include a morning plenary session with Abenaki storyteller and author Joseph Bruchac with his son, musician and Abenaki linguist, Jesse Bruchac; Art Cohn, director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum; and Jessica Desany, archeologist and Ft. St. Anne scholar. Preservation Honor Awards will be presented at the mid-day luncheon. In the afternoon, conference attendees can visit one or all of the open houses and tours to the Pink Lighthouse, Goodsell Ridge Preserve, Barn Tour, and Isle La Motte Historical Society.
Following the conference is a reception, music and art exhibit at the lakefront Fisk Farm and Quarry. It should be a very special and memorable day in the Islands! Registration materials will be at www.ptvermont.org
in mid-April or call 802-828-3540 for a hard copy.
Preservation Honor Awards Reminder
Nominations for 2009 Preservation Honor Awards are due May 1. Awards will be presented at the June 12 Preservation Conference in Isle LaMotte (see above).
Volunteers, professionals, municipalities, non-profit organizations, businesses and corporations, state agencies, building contractors, labor unions, media, schools and colleges, and governmental officials are examples of those who are eligible for the awards.
Eligible activities include: preservation or adaptive use of an historic property, educational and public information materials and programs, building trades and professional training, programming at historic properties, financial support, and special encouragement and leadership in the preservation field. Other exemplary activities are also eligible.
Please see www.ptvermont.org
for application information or call the Preservation Trust office for a paper copy 802-568-6647.
Looking for Churches that are no longer churches....
The Preservation Trust is compiling examples of church buildings that were underutilized and have, or are in the process of, evolving to serve a new community use. Please send examples to firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 802-434-5014. Grand Isle Lake House Retreat: May 11-12
Groups working on a community development or historic preservation project are invited to a retreat at the Grand Isle Lake House May 11-12. Space is limited to 20 people, so please register today by contacting email@example.com
or calling 802-434-5014 for more information. Cost for overnight and meals is $50 per person for a shared room; $75 for a single.
Participating groups should be prepared to present a ten minute case study about a project they're working on. The case study should frame a question or problem that needs to be solved to advance their project. Two to three people should attend from each group. The whole idea is to share ideas, identify funding opportunities and technical assistance resources, and move projects forward.
Other upcoming retreats are:
- June 22-23 Church Retreat with Partners for Sacred Places
- July 16-17 Retreat for Designated Downtowns
- Aug 4-5 Historic Preservation and Community Development projects
- Sep 14-15 Historic Preservation and Community Development projects
- Oct 26-27 Community Development projects and Fundraising
For more information, please contact a Preservation Trust staff person:
Lost: Norwich Bandstand
Thank you to everyone who responded to our plea to find a new home for the historic Norwich bandstand. After much effort to try to save the bandstand, on February 27th, the Selectboard and Town Manager ordered the bandstand to be decapitated, taking a chainsaw to remove the roof, and demolishing the base. The roof with its conical-shaped sounding board ceiling (the most significant element of the bandstand) is now lying on the ground behind the Norwich school waiting for the Town to decide its fate.
The Stimulus Package and Historic Preservation
We have been getting lots of calls asking about stimulus funding for community historic preservation projects. We have been working hard to make the case in Montpelier and Washington about the benefit of rehabilitation projects in supporting the local economy. By their nature, historic preservation work is labor intensive and supports our local contractors and craftspeople -- exactly where the stimulus funds will help the most! To demonstrate the need, we have compiled a list of shovel ready projects
This list is changing everyday with new additions. We will post any grant opportunities in our newsletter. (Photo shows Val Levitan and Bill Zucca standing in front of Pierce Hall in Rochester.)
A hearty thanks to all of you who participated in our annual Silent Auction by mail. It was a great event and appreciate your continued support and enthusiasm for the Preservation Trust.
If Puerto Rico has tempted you in the past, it is still available!
1. One week in Vieques, Puerto Rico.
This two-bedroom furnished home on two acres sits atop a hill on the beautiful island of Vieques. Transportation on your own from the main island of Puerto Rico is either by small plane or ferry. Rental car is a necessity. Includes cleaning fee and escort from the airport. Some date restrictions. Arrangements to be made with the donor by the end of January 2009. Must be used by December 2009. Donated by Martin & Linda Tierney.
Value = $2,000 Minimum bid = $1,000
Act 250: So Long Citizens
by Meg Campbell, Citizens for a Greater Bennington
From the time Act 250 was conceived and established, one of the Act's key principles has been allowing citizen involvement as full participants in the review and permitting process. Citizens and citizen groups have a unique perspective, and under the rules must provide information and analysis based upon Act 250 criteria.
In 2004, a new standard for obtaining party status was included in the permit reform package approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor. Under this new standard, citizens and citizen groups have to show that they have a "particularized interest" in the proposed project. During the process, the Administration's representatives assured Legislators that the Administration would not establish a "high bar" under the new standard.
Unfortunately, the "particularized interest" standard is now being used to limit citizen participation.
Citizens For a Greater Bennington is a group of concerned citizens who want to help make Bennington a great place to live and work. Our members live, work and recreate in and around Bennington. We are interested in fostering development that preserves our traditional downtown as a center of cultural and economic life and supports locally-owned businesses, historic character, and natural environment.
CFGB has existed since 2004, when we initiated a proposal to place a cap on the size of big box retail stores in Bennington. Since 2004, our main goal has been to help the community become aware of the true cost of big box development. In 2005, we enlisted the support of 409 voters in Bennington and North Bennington and a total of 824 citizens in Bennington County who signed a petition opposing the expansion of the proposed Wal-Mart. We participated in the Development Review Board proceedings which led to a decision to grant a permit to an out-of-state developer to more than double the size of the Wal-Mart. Subsequently, CFGB appealed that decision, with the assistance of the Vermont Natural Resources Council. The case now stands in Environmental Court, where we tried to mediate several issues with the developer last summer. The developer was simply not willing to discuss a smaller store, in a different location, and alternative site plans.
This year the developer applied for an Act 250 permit, even though there is still no stormwater permit for the project and there are significant unresolved traffic issues. CFGB and VNRC attended the Act 250 pre-hearing conference in early February and preceded that with a formal request asking the District 8 Environmental Commission if we could participate as parties. We cited particular concerns including: the negative impacts on water quality of stormwater runoff into the Walloomsac River; the probability that the development would put 10-15% of downtown stores out of business; increased traffic congestion on Route 7A; and site design that is not in conformance with the Town Plan.
Instead of full party status, the Commission gave us "Friends of the Commission" status and gave us until March 3rd to supplement our party status petitions. We were not given clear guidance on what they wanted, so we gathered more than 50 signed affidavits from our members who include business people, property owners, and citizens who have legitimate concerns about how this project will impact them. This is above and beyond what is normally required to establish party status. The Commission's decision doesn't cite any flaws in our efforts, but simply denied us party status.
We did not request Friends of the Commission status. It is not sufficient to represent our interests and to participate as parties with the same rights of other parties in the proceeding. It allows participation only at the discretion of the Commission, and it does not afford us the right to appeal. We believe that our concerns about the project will not be given the same weight or taken as seriously as the positions of "actual parties". And, why would we want to spend considerable amounts of money on legal and technical experts only to have the Commission dismiss us? For all of these reasons, it simply does not make sense for us to participate in the proceedings as Friends of the Commission.
Shortly after the Commission's decision, we asked the Environmental Court to rule on our request for party status, reasoning that if our appeal is granted now, it could move the case along in a timely fashion without the need to do it all over again. We believe gaining party status would help the Commission arrive at a decision that benefits our community sooner rather than later.
Unfortunately, the Environmental Court judge has decided not to hear our appeal now, so we are forced to wait until the end of the Act 250 hearings for our appeal to be heard. If we prevail at the Environmental Court, there is a strong likelihood that the Court will remand the decision back to the Commission to do all over again and include us as full parties. This outcome would result in more delays and frustration than simply granting us party status at this time.
This whole process seems convoluted and unfair. As envisioned by Governor Deane Davis, Act 250 was designed to be run by citizens for the benefit of citizens. Those days appear to be over. And what's happening in Bennington is no longer only about Bennington. It's about curtailing citizens' rights on a statewide level and undermining the substance and spirit of Act 250.
Meg Campbell is Co- Chair of Citizens for a Greater Bennington. She lives in Bennington.
|National News |
What is the Perfect Storm?
From the National Trust for Historic Preservation
The perfect storm is created when a flood of new stimulus dollars intended for "shovel-ready" projects hits the ground at the exact same moment when state governments are responding to widespread budget deficits and dreary bottom lines by slashing (or completely turning off) funding for historic preservation programs.
With the recent enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, $787 billion in economic stimulus funding has started trickling down to each state. While we've heard a great deal over the past few months about job creation and "shovel-ready" projects, what is not being discussed is the role preservation advocates have in ensuring that each state's share of this funding supports our cause. On one hand we have an unprecedented level of funding generated by a history-making stimulus bill that is already being disbursed. On the other, we have state historic preservation offices, Main Street programs and cultural initiatives that are experiencing deep funding cuts and very uncertain futures. This is creating an unusual situation that both threatens historic resources and offers unprecedented opportunities for their revitalization.
Save America's Treasures Issues Call for Applications for 2009
The Save America's Treasures federal partners just announced the 2009 Save America's Treasures Grant Round, administered by the National Park Service (NPS) in partnership with the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The Save America's Treasures fund is one of the largest and most successful grant programs for the protection of our nation's endangered and irreplaceable cultural heritage. Grants are available for preservation and/or conservation work on nationally significant intellectual and cultural artifacts and historic structures and sites. Intellectual and cultural artifacts include artifacts, collections, documents, sculpture, and works of art. Historic structures and sites include historic districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects.
Grants are awarded to Federal, state, local, and tribal government entities, and non-profit organizations through a competitive process and require a dollar-for-dollar, non-Federal match. The minimum grant request for historic collections projects is $25,000 Federal share; the minimum grant request for historic property projects is $125,000 Federal share. The maximum grant request for all projects is $700,000 Federal share. Application forms and guidelines, and a list of previously funded projects can be found at the NPS Save America's Treasures website: http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/treasures/
The deadline is 11:59 pm EST on Friday May 22, 2009.
|In the Media
Fate Of Old Church Attracts 50 People
Amy Ash Nixon
Staff Writer, Caledonia Record
A sign out in front of the First Congregational Church of Lyndon said it all Thursday night - "Another 100 Years or Not?"
For an hour, people who cared about the church as well as many parishioners with memories and attachments to the house of worship, flocked back to the structure on York Street. About 50 people attended the meeting.
The church was built in 1827.
Programs for one of the final services held in the old church, the oldest in town, were dated Sept. 24, 2000. Inside the chilly building, people asked where the minister's Bible was being kept today and inquired about other faith-related artifacts.
Read On... http://caledonianrecord.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&ArticleID=44550&TM=456.566
Town Project Earns Belated Award
By Josh O'Gorman
Staff Writer, Rutland Herald
CAVENDISH - More than a decade after its completion, the town has been honored for a construction project that revitalized its village center.
Architect Tim Calabrese last month received the 2008-09 Public Space Honor Award from Gov. James Douglas for his design of the Proctorsville Green on Route 131 in the center of the village.
"That piece of property is kind of the hub of Proctorsville," Calabrese said, and while that might be true now it wasn't always the case.
Town Manager Richard Svec said in the past the area was "blighted." The space had been home to a four-story mill that burned in 1982 and was never fully cleaned up, Svec said. Between 1996 and 1998, the town purchased the property and transformed it from eyesore to public attraction, all for about $750,000. Much of the money came from local and state grants, he said, which also paid for the relocation of the historic Freeman House to the edge of the green.
Vt. Grant to Help Fund General Store Rebuild
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer, Rutland Herald
Putney's heart transplant is going to be successful.
The effort to save and restore the Putney General Store, heavily damaged by a fire on May 3 last year, has gotten a big boost in the form of a $200,000 community development block grant from the state of Vermont.
The money will be used to pay back funds loaned to the Putney Historical Society effort, which undertook the project, saying the general store was really the heart of the community and Putney was suffering without its heart.
The Putney Historical Society bought the building last fall from the owners of the building, who couldn't put together a plan to rebuild the general store, which is the oldest continually operating general store in Vermont, according to Stuart Strothman, president of the historical society.