St. Louis Takes a Farsighted Approach to Preserving Its Past

Recognizing the potential value of its historic homes and industrial buildings, but with few plans for reuse in the immediate future, the City of St. Louis is proposing to establish a preservation fund to mothball some of its 6,000 vacant buildings.

"A bill to be filed Friday [PDF] with the St. Louis Board of Aldermen would set up a building preservation fund — estimated at $500,000 a year — to fix roofs and walls on long-term vacant buildings, mothballing them for future development," reports Tim Logan. "An equal amount would be added to the city’s demolition fund, to help speed the demolition of thousands of condemned properties."

The proposal was developed in response to the recent demolition of the century-old Cupples 7 warehouse, a loss that dismayed preservationists and city leaders.

"The money would help to preserve one of the city’s signature assets — its blocks and blocks of red-brick housing stock — while also hastening the razing of crumbling old structures that house crime and harm their neighbors, said Jeff Rainford, chief of staff for Mayor Francis Slay."

"The tough question — in a city with so many empty buildings — is which ones to save," adds Logan.

Full Story: St. Louis proposes fund to 'mothball' vacant buildings

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