I want to give you a glimpse of our reach and impact on preservation beyond our borders. I presented on behalf of GVS last night for the second time at the Brewery District Commission, addressing the proposed demolition of the Maennerchor and construction of a residential apartment block with parking on the ground level. The text of my 3 minute speech is below.

Additionally, in cooperation with Young Ohio Preservationists through our social media presence, we generated over 50 emails in a very short time that went in opposition to the demolition of the Antiques Mall at 1045 S. High to BDC staff Cristin Moody.

TV 6 did an excellent job covering, filming throughout the meeting. This is a big indicator that preservation is worthy of coverage and that the public cares. To have a TV crew remain in place throughout one of these meetings is impressive!  Here is a link to their story that aired last night:

http://abc6onyourside.com/news/local/some-neighbors-concerned-about-potential-plan-to-demolish-greater-columbus-antique-mall

Finally, a shout out to Josh Miller for ‘dressin up and showin up’ to rep GVS in the audience- Thanks Josh!

My speech:

“Thank you and I appreciate the opportunity to speak to you once again on this application.

I am Nancy Kotting, Historic Preservation Advocate for the German Village Society on whose behalf I am speaking. As advocate, our Board of Trustees has granted me permission to advocate beyond our borders when necessary.

I would like to say that the German Village Society recognizes and celebrates the Columbus Maennerchor, its history and its role in sustaining the social traditions of our earliest German immigrants. At his invitation, I have met with the President of Maennerchor since the March Commission meeting. In this meeting we shared a pleasant and mutually educational conversation about the organization, its history, current needs and future plans. I believe as a result of this meeting, the President of the Maennerchor now has a better understanding of the basic tenents of historic preservation and the criteria required when historic district commissions are reviewing applications for Certificates of Appropriateness for demolition.

In 1949, President Truman signed legislation creating the National Trust for Historic Preservation. What began as a movement to protect the grand architectural legacy of American elites, has over nearly seventy years become one of the single most powerful social tools we have in creating vibrant, unique, healthy communities. One that transcends racial, political and socio economic lines. Today preservation activities are integrated into urban planning, thoughtful land use, environmental responsibility, prevention of sprawl, and the creation of psychologically and physically healthy neighborhoods filled with emotionally supportive points of reference in the form of familiar, iconic architecture reaching back through generations.

Tonight across the country historic district commissions are meeting just as we are here. No doubt many of them are contemplating proposed demolitions. And though they may feel, as perhaps you do, that these decisions are made in isolation, that this one building they are reviewing is just that, one building, one building that won’t matter in the grand scheme of things, it does matter.

The very purpose of protecting historic architecture is our keen understanding of its role in maintaining the truly unique and beautifully complex American cultural fabric stretching coast to coast.  But it goes beyond that.

We, as preservation professionals are now focusing on the human impacts of preservation. The research is beginning to show us the powerful impact historic architecture has on our mental health, our sense of communal stability in chaotic times. Now more than ever it is critical that we work hard and responsibly to retain that supportive nature of familiar historic architecture. Based on these latest findings the role of historic district commissions such as this one, have never been more critical to our well being as a community than it is right now.

In contemplating opportunities for progress in our community through development, integrating existing architecture, historic in nature, such as in this case, into new development is a win for urban design. It is a win for the environment. It is a win for communities struggling to retain stability and identity. Most importantly, it is a win for the very health of each and every one of us.

(I hit the three minute mark here and stopped-so the final paragraph was not read…)

I am acutely aware of the financial aspects of adaptively reusing historic structures. It is my business to know this. I again will respectfully remind the commission that any costs involved with the restoration of structure are NOT to be taken into consideration when reviewing an application for demolition with, according to city code, the exception of cases where an owner is attempting to prove financial hardship. This is not the case with this application. There are times when the nature of development proposals simply are not suitable for historic districts.  Our task as stewards of our historic districts is to retain those very attributes that, ironically attract developers. Attributes they simply cannot replicate outside of historic districts, attributes that the market is demanding and they are desperately trying to fulfill. Attributes that allow them to command a higher price for their product due to its location in a historic district. The hypocrisy of asking to demolish the very essence of what creates that elusive value is simply stunning. Demolition is unacceptable in this instance.