We're currently reading "The Past & Future City" by Stephanie Meeks, the President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In it, Meeks explains the critical importance of preservation for all our communities, the ways the historic preservation field has evolved to embrace the challenges of the twenty-first century, and the innovative work being done in the preservation space now.
Nestled behind a row of houses on Mason Street and a row of businesses on Commercial Street sits an industrial building that is, for the moment, empty. It started life in 1917 as a Hood ice cream plant before it became an adhesive factory and most recently a metal fabrication shop. Soon it will be rehabilitated to house 10 condos, with its grounds home to an additional 19 townhouses. This type of project is really exciting for Historic Salem for two reasons. The first is that this project seizes the vision of the decade old North River Canal Corridor plan, and the second is, of course, the that it reuses a historic, industrial building.
But why does the reuse of this rather nondescript and relatively unknown old building matter?
“I love everything about Salem, but some things need to change.”
Do you like where you live?
We took this question to our membership in a “Coffee Conversation” format as part of the city-wide Imagine Salem initiative. When we address preservation issues at Historic Salem we try to start from the premise that the people who live in Salem love Salem like we do. This was proven in our conversations with members and the wider public.
The federal Historic Tax Credit program (HTC) is our government's largest investment in historic preservation and since its inception, the program has leveraged nationally over $120 billion in private investment and revitalizing often abandoned and underperforming properties. Over 400 preservation projects have been financially supported by the HTC since 2002. The HTC creates jobs, increases local tax revenue, leverages private dollars, is a catalyst for investment in our communities and is often a critical financial component of restoration projects that may otherwise not have happened.
Review this letter then add your signature today! Preservation Massachusetts, Boston Preservation Alliance, and others will take this letter to Washington DC in two weeks to meet with Massachusett's congressional delegation. The deadline to sign onto the letter is 5:00 PM on Friday, March 10.