The Landmark Society is pleased to announce that it is requesting proposals from qualified consultant teams to conduct a feasibility study and implementation plan for a Preservation Revolving Fund Program. Funding from the 1772 Foundation has made this project possible.
The Landmark Society seeks to launch a historic properties redevelopment program focused on the city of Rochester, where we see a strong need for such intervention. Rochester suffers from extreme, concentrated poverty, which disproportionately affects people of color. The US Census Bureau ranks Rochester 12th in the nation when it comes to poverty and second in the state, behind Syracuse. It is the 5th poorest city in the nation, among the top 75 metropolitan areas.
Such concentration of poverty means that there are several city neighborhoods with high rates of vacancy (and the associated social problems that come with vacant properties) and extremely depressed property values. The cost of rehabilitating these properties is far greater than the resale value. While there are several organizations to redevelop vacant properties, none do so with a historic preservation lens.
With a redevelopment program, LSWNY can fill a void that the private sector is not able to fill. LSWNY can work with neighborhood residents, community groups, neighborhood organizations, the Rochester Land Bank, and the City of Rochester to create the opportunity for quality rehabilitation projects in low-income neighborhoods that will help contribute to an overall improvement in the quality of life and economics of those neighborhoods.
Conducting a feasibility study and approaching the implementation of a formal redevelopment program in a systematic way will provide the organization with the security and knowledge that it needs in order to launch such a program. There is a clear need in the city of Rochester—a need that cannot be addressed by the private market and that cannot be fully addressed by the City or other organizations.
Many preservation organizations throughout the country utilize a revolving fund program as a key strategy to help save at-risk or vacant historic properties. Historic Macon Foundation, for example, has a long-standing and successful program. Michigan Historic Preservation Network also manages a revolving fund program. You can read more about preservation revolving funds on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s website here.