2016 was an exciting year: buildings saved, nominations written, a new employee hired, and a growing list of Facebook followers and members who want to help us save those places that matter to all of us.
We know there is more work to be done. I joke that I will always have job security because there is always a building that needs saved.
As we enter 2017, here’s what’s on our To Do list.
- Learn more about preservation easements, a tool used successfully in other states to protect demolition, certain changes or development of a historic property into perpetuity.
- Work with North Omaha residents and building owners to identify and locally landmark properties in the area. The number of historic properties in North Omaha dwindles daily. We need to protect what is still there.
- Locally landmark the Cornish Mansion and White House Apartments on South 10th Street. Development is happening fast in this area, and we need to insure these Victorian mansions remain standing.
- Bring attention to our small commercial districts east of 52nd Street that were former streetcar stops. These one- and two-story buildings are within walking distance of residential districts and are ripe for development. They’re perfect for independent businesses like coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants and service providers. Got a small business idea and need a location? We’d love to work with you.
- Launch Tagged to Terrific – a new feature that will promote homes and buildings on the Omaha Municipal Land Bank and demolition lists, and highlight the people who are taking these places that no one thought could be saved and doing just that.
- Take all of the contacts and information we have gathered through 12 years of presenting the Restore Omaha conference and create an online directory – a place where you can find that plasterer, architect, contractor, stone mason and window repairer who understands how old houses and buildings work.
- Advocate to keep historic tax credits on the federal and state level. Tax credits make preservation happen – especially those difficult projects.
And we will continue to uncover and share the stories our buildings tell. Remember the building at 1501 Howard St. that we heart-bombed in February? We discovered the parachute was invented there by Scott Tent & Awning Co. Plans are being drawn to renovate it. Stay tuned.
REO Executive Director