Earlier this year we announced the details of our new partnership with project:HOMES and the City of Richmond to rehabilitate three historic homes for affordable housing in Southern Barton Heights.
As the year comes to an end, we are excited to reflect back on the progress:
In the first quarter of the year, we met with project:HOMES and their architect to walk through the properties to create plans for rehabilitation. As much historic fabric as possible will be preserved, but we also plan to bring the houses up to 21st century living standards. Plans have been completed and permits have been received.
In May, we hosted a neighborhood meet and greet. Staff, leadership and volunteers from Historic Richmond and project:HOMES met with our new Southern Barton Heights neighbors to break bread and review construction plans for the three properties. We loved sharing our plans and meeting the neighbors! We received positive feedback from the neighbors, and they were delighted to meet the Mayor, who stopped by in support of the project.
These projects have relied on our revolving fund, a fund we established decades ago to acquire, restore, and/or maintain historic properties. As we work to implement our strategic plan goal to strategically choose and support rehabilitation projects which will serve as catalysts for the community’s increased enjoyment of historic neighborhoods, we have renewed our focus on our revolving fund, studying best practices and models around the country. Here, we discuss our use of the fund for these projects with a College of Charleston graduate preservation class, which also is studying revolving funds around the country.
Work has started on two houses – the Late Victorian and Queen Anne cottage – and we’ve had some exciting discoveries! At 1610 Sewell Street – the Late Victorian – what was expected to be a boarded up eyebrow-shaped attic vent was revealed to still have the original window! And at 1611 Monteiro Street – the Queen Anne cottage – scalloped wood siding was discovered beneath the aluminum siding. And if 1611 Monteiro wasn’t already the largest house by far, a basement was discovered.
Our efforts have reached beyond these three properties. Project:HOMES has been able to assist many homeowners in the neighborhood through their Weatherization Program. This program helps homeowners by offering services such as air sealing, insulation, water savers, LED light bulbs, and other maintenance and repair services. And the side walk on Sewell Street was recently repaired! Perhaps the Mayor noticed its poor condition at our meet and greet?
As we write this, work on these two homes continues, and rehabilitation work on the third home will begin shortly. These projects are just one example of our efforts, together with our fellow nonprofits and other community members, to think creatively about pressing community concerns, such as blight and affordability. We look forward to sharing more on these projects as they progress in the New Year. If you want to tour the properties and hear more about the project, please join us for a hard hat tour at our March 19, 2020 Quoit Club event!
Every day, Historic Richmond preserves, protects and promotes the historic buildings and places that make Richmond unique, beautiful and authentic.
Your generosity and financial support are vital to sustain Historic Richmond’s preservation, revitalization and advocacy work for these and other at risk properties. We need your help so that buildings and places like these can tell their stories to the generations to come.
We hope you will take this opportunity to re-invest in our important work by making a gift today. We truly could not do it without you.