State And City Plan Ahead In Historic Preservation Efforts During Natural Disaster

 

The high water level of the Schuylkill after Hurricane Irene, August 2011 | Photo: Philadelphia Canoe Club

The high water level of the Schuylkill after Hurricane Irene, August 2011 | Photo: Philadelphia Canoe Club

  • Philadelphia will become the first major city to include proactive disaster mitigation measures for its historic structures when it files its Hazard Mitigation Plan with FEMA for next year, says Plan Philly historic preservation reporter Alan Jaffe. Pennsylvania’s “Disaster Planning for Historic Properties Initiative,” made possible by the National Park Service’s $1.5 million grant from the Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief Fund, has allotted $200,000 for Philadelphia. Phase one identified 505 historic structures located within the city’s flood hazard areas that would be threatened by the advance of a Category 1 hurricane; phase two, guided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will prioritize any such time-sensitive preservation efforts in view of a given property’s vulnerability and popular historic esteem. “We wanted to push the idea of preservation out of reactionary mode to front-end planning, and figure out where historic buildings might be and how to prevent damage to them,” explains project manager Jeremy Young.
  • NewsWorks stops by Holmesburg prison, which, already having been well steeped in its own history of exploitation and killings before its closure in 1995, is now the set of a potentially genre-redefining slasher film called “Death House.” Indeed, “barely a month goes by without arty millennials wheeling cameras and sound equipment past its rusting gates.” The City’s prison system still utilizes the space, mostly as a training center for its K-9 and fire units, and emergency response (ie. SWAT) team. And something of a more traditional use just may return for a time this summer, as the prison is set to become the main intake location in the case of mass arrests during the Democratic National Convention.
  • Residents of Roxborough are concerned with the deteriorating conditions of the Walnut Lane Golf Club, a municipal course whose upkeep was strategically forsaken two years ago by the underfunded Department of Parks and Recreation, says CBS Philly. Commissioner Kathryn Ott Lovell promises that crews will clean up the scores of fallen trees that now line Henry Avenue as soon as it is financially feasible.
About the author

Stephen Currall recently received his BA in history from Arcadia University. Before beginning doctoral studies, he is pursuing his interest in local history, specifically just how Philadelphians engage their vibrant past. Besides skimming through 18th century letters, Steve is also interested in music and travel.

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