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Integrating Historic Preservation into Disaster Planning and Recovery
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Integrating Historic Preservation into Disaster Planning and Recovery

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  • 1. Page |1 Integrating Historic Preservation into Disaster Planning and Recovery Statewide Conference on Heritage Lancaster, Pennsylvania Wednesday, July 18, 2012 8:30 a.m.-10: a.m., Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square, Lancaster County Convention Center 20 Minutes (with Amanda Ciampolillo, FEMA, Region III, and Tim Sevison, The Riser Group)1. The National Trust is a privately-funded non-profit organization that works to save America’s historic places. Will give overview of work in New Orleans after Katrina Then focus on one of the biggest issues we dealt with—the construction of two new public hospitals for LSU and VA. And illustrate along the way how what you do or don’t have in place on the ground before as disaster affects what happens afterwards. Threat of loss of cultural/historic character and identity (Show these three while reading Moe quote.) 2,3. Two slides of Lower 9th 4. Broadmoor in October 2005. Then NTHP President Dick Moe’s call/recognition in November 2005 (as one speaker at a recovery conference in New Orleans), saying “Louisiana has experienced one of the greatest human tragedies in the nation’s history… Katrina could also be the greatest cultural catastrophe America has ever known…*T+he Katrina flood interrupted the creative culture of a region where art is still alive and vital—from great food, inventive music, and singular festivals to distinctive architecture, lush landscapes, and lively neighborhoods that nurture people from diverse economic and cultural backgrounds. That’s what we must restore….” The place tells a story; I could appreciate that. My 12 years in NO and at HDLC pre-K Working at Trust HQ in 2005 Fall 2005—Trust in NO
  • 2. Page |2 January 2006—I return to NO for 3 ½ years The big lesson: Have all your plans and procedures in place before any disaster strikes. The historic resources were—or should have been—recognized assets before. They are still assets.5. (City map with NR districts and flood levels.) Our recognition of the city’srich historic districts. 20 National Register districts 80 percent of the city flooded (7 Manhattans) At the moment the city needed them most, it cuts the staff needed most—historic districts, planning6. (Second city map with districts.) City’s master plan and zoning re-write—had moved forward under Mayor Marc Morial. The city had no completemaster plan at the time of the storm, but does now, and zoning is still in theworks.) NOLA: 15 local historic districts; over 16,000 properties With the Neighborhood Conservation District, about 50 percent of the core area of the city is under some historic district regulation. Surveys after the storm identified more NR-eligible neighborhoods, with FEMA HP and SHPO. The surveys of the local and NR districts had needed updated before Katrina.7. Tools and Strategies Early-on Partner organizations: PRC and FHL Early role for volunteers: cleaning supply bucket distribution Informational workshops—mold remediation, structural assessment, careful clean-out Volunteers as national advocates Volunteer management is more work than people realize8. Understanding and communicating best practices for cleaning andgutting. Our guidance (orig. 1993, for Missouri/Mississippi floods) was updated for 2005. It became useful again with new floods.
  • 3. Page |3 Today, disaster response resources and links on the Trust’s web site, www.preservationnation.org. Type: “disaster response” on home page search. This house, the Bennett house in Holy Cross, a neighborhood in the Lower 9th, became a poster child for our Home Again!New Orleans grant program and demonstration project.9. Structural assessments began early. Early 2006, universe of 2,900 “red-tagged” buildings (ID’ed by city and contracted inspectors) We whittled to about 400 in NR districts and re-inspected (before Section 106 kicked in) We were navigating complicated systems and structures of authorities, agencies, and officials—local, state, federal, military, contract workers.10. As returning residents begin to plan their repairs—a new role forvolunteers. The reactions of volunteers and owners to the work and the help. Written report “Observations/Recommendations”—top to bottom: outside-inside—with disclaimer. “Do I need to demolish my house?” Targets: based on ower requests.11. Home repair as another role for volunteers If volunteers aren’t technical experts, then home repair is a role. Taking advantage of a surge of concern for NO Again—serious volunteer management implications Note that all this was initiated by non-profits or the private sector— not the city.12. Historic preservation review using Section 106 of National HistoricPreservation Act. (Does everyone in audience know what Section 106 is?) City asked for FEMA to fund demolitions of damaged residences. Began consultation in February 2006, 6 months after K. FEMA=lead agency; US Army Corps of Engineers=debris removal Result was Programmatic Agreement for demo process.
  • 4. Page |4 Of 1121 contributing buildings ID’ed, 821 were removed from list due to our efforts. Treatment of NR contributing buildings, would include reviews of list, meetings to seek alternatives to demolition, work with PRC to contact owners, counsel alternatives, sale, correct errors in records. If to be demo’ed, recordation first (“pre-demo treatment measure”)13. Another pre-demo treatment measure: “selective recoupment ofcharacter-defining elements” PRC as receiver of salvage and allowed to sell at reasonable price to cover overhead. Loosely confected agreement. We should not have to fight for deconstruction. Corps and FEMA legal constraints preventing deconstructions—or inability to discuss use of FEMA demo funds for stabilization. We were reaping the result of the city’s pre-K inability to grapple successfully with blight, vacant housing, lack of neighborhood-level planning. SIDEBAR—Blighted Property, Vacant Property, Population 2009 American Housing Survey: 65,000 homes unfit for habitation; 2/3 will need to be demolished. (Current Mayor Landrieu’s goal: 10,000 demolitions.) Vacant property: At 25 percent, among the highest in the nation; up from 12 percent in 2000. Population: 343,829 (2010 Census)—about ¾ pre-K; before Katrina, about 450,000 and declining. 1960: 628,000. July 22, 2012: Population 360,740 or 79.2% of the July 1, 2005, population.14. FEMA-funded demolitions--chart Corps—June 2006 to Sept 2007=4,235 demos City—Dec 2007 to April 2009=1,574 Total FEMA-funded demos for this period: 5,809 (of 9,215 city submitted) Demos in NR districts: 300
  • 5. Page |515. How to balance protection of lives and property with protection oflocal historic resources? Case in point— House elevations Repetitive loss Hazard mitigation grants, elevation of houses—a problem that’s still an issue nearly seven years later. Funding delays and administrative confusion led to owners taking things into their own hands. Need local ordinance in flood management ordinance that exempts contributing properties in NR districts from requirement to elevate (if so choose), but does not bar from protection of National Flood Insurance Program or cause higher premium. [Transition here—other issues—modernist architecture and neighborhood schools.]16. (Exterior, Supreme Court)17. (Demo, Court and Office Building)The city’s ambivalent and sometimes hostile attitude toward its modernistarchitecture. Disaster as opportunity to get rid of buildings we don’t understand or appreciate. Ad hoc nature of all of this when no real plan in place: The Benson solution to use Dominion Tower, for example, which shelved the state’s building plans. (And all related to keeping the Saints football team ownership happy.) Office and former Supreme court demolished—more open land in the CBD.18. (Cabrini Church, interior before demo)19. (Demo) Curtis and Davis; completed in 1963, $1 million Nathaniel Curtis and Arthur Q, Davis Also architects of the Louisiana Superdome and the Rivergate Concrete barrel vaults; clad in brick to blend in with nearby Oak Park subdivision Damaged during Katrina Chosen site for new Holy Cross School
  • 6. Page |6 Church was determined to be National Register eligible (battle with SHPO about this; and bafflement of the public and the media shows the work we still need to do to educate the public.) Because of use of FEMA funds and NR eligibility=Section 106 consultation School had no intention of trying to re-use or incorporate church in school plans. A small group of congregants fought for its survival; legal action pursued even after demolition. 106 consultation pushed through with token mitigation—saving cross, incorporating some of the interior elements into new construction.20. (McDonogh No. 19, Louis Armstrong School) New Orleans PublicSchools21. (Booker T)22. (McDonogh No. 11) What role do neighborhood schools play? The challenge: rehab of existing (with new additions if needed) vs. demo and all new construction. Lack of planner’s understanding about meaning of school to parents and students (and alumni) despite its physical condition. School facilities master plan Phase I is funded completely by FEMA and underway. Funding for Phase II also announced.(McDonogh 11 as segue to hospitals.)23. (Charity Exterior) The Battle to Re-Open Charity as a Hospital and Savethe Lower Mid-City Neighborhood—A National Trust 11 Most in 2008. Disaster as the opportunity to rebuild parts of the medical system by moving out of the Central Business District—a grander version of designs that had been talked about for years pre-K. Historic resources not seen as adaptable to contemporary use. Charity Hospital was designed by the firm of Weiss, Dreyfous & Seiferth , (1938-39) which also designed the Art Deco State Capitol in Baton Rouge.
  • 7. Page |724. (Charity Exterior) Operating after Katrina, but closed by LSU. Flooding in basement. How much damage was caused by flooding? Damages sought from FEMA by LSU--$450 million.25. VA Medical Center 1950s structure with adjacent 1980s addition.26. Lower Mid-City & Medical Center (aerial of orig conditions Area had flooded, but homes being rebuilt.27. Site Plan VA and LSU (note surface parking at LSU side) The entire proposed LSU/VA project encompasses over 70 acres, containing 263 structures. Of these 165 were identified as contributing to the historic character of the Mid-City National Register district. No more than 20-25 structures were originally slated to be relocated, and the rest were targeted for demolition.28. Charity Hospital Feasibility Study (Charity exterior) House Concurrent Resolution 89 (in 2006) of the Louisiana State Legislature charged the Foundation for Historical Louisiana (FHL) to conduct an independent assessment of Charity Hospital in New Orleans. No funding was allocated for the study. FHL engaged the services of RMJM Hillier, the world’s seventh largest architectural firm, with expertise in health care design and preservation architecture. FHL raised $600,000 for the study. Joining RMJM were Waggonner and Ball, Architects of New Orleans; Robert Silman Associates (structural engineers); VJ Associates (cost estimating); George Ballard Geotechnics (thermal engineering and non-destructive testing); and Langen Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc. (hazardous materials assessment).29. Charity Feasibility Study (Charity Atrium)
  • 8. Page |8The study determined that the building was ahead of its time indesign and would lend itself to being renovated as a state-of-the artmedical facility.The structural system is soundThe pattern of diagonal cracks in the façade appeared shortly afterthe building’s construction. Today, the building has no “fatal flaws.”Floor-to-floor heights are ideal in all 20 floors—the lower three floorsfor operating rooms and diagnostics; the upper floors well-suited forup to 446 private in-patient rooms.The renovation and retrofit would include complete gutting of thebuilding, preserving and restoring the existing main lobby andexterior shell.The building has 24 elevators, another feature that puts it ahead ofits time in design.After renovation, Charity Hospital will be code compliant, includingfire exits.Cost estimators V-J Associates determined that Charity Hospitalcould be renovated at a cost that is 22 percent less than theconstruction cost of building a comparable new one million squarefoot building at a new site.VJ Associates estimates the cost of rehabilitation of Charity is $484million. The cost of building a new hospital and acquiring land is $620million.As a historic structure, Charity Hospital qualifies for federal and statehistoric tax credits as well as new markets tax credit allocations. $128million in tax credits could provide 34 percent in project cost savings.The building is vacant for the first time, thus making it possible toexpedite the rehabilitation process.Having the building shell in place shaves at least two years off thetime to deliver a new hospital.Quicker construction means quicker delivery of jobs, health care,medical research, and medical education—ultimately benefitting theentire biosciences industry.The economic benefits are not exclusive to either plan, yet thealternative of re-using Charity Hospital as a state-of-the-art medicalfacility will take less time, be less costly, and less destructive.
  • 9. Page |9SIDEBAR: Dave Dixon of Goody Clancy, chief consultant for NO Master plan,on Charity Hospital: “It survived intact and could have been brought back.”30. Alternative Sites for LSU/VA were identified and we also called forcompressing the footprint plan.(The animated site plan) We were presenting real alternatives, not just saying no. Note the number of buildings in the fist view. With the renovation of Charity Hospital and the availability of surrounding land and neighboring buildings for expansion and other medical facilities, an alternative plan presents itself—the relocation of the new VA medical center to a portion of the “preferred” LSU site. With the alternative plan, co-location and synergy with all surrounding medical complexes would be achieved; scores of private homes and important historic and cultural buildings would be saved. In short, acquisition and relocation costs in connection with the new Charity Hospital plan will likely exceed the funds presently allocated.31. The Campaign for Charity Hospital Ads on Canal Streetcars Also “Doctors for Charity” formed.32. The Campaign for Charity Hospital Billboards in New Orleans and Baton Rouge (for legislators)33. The Campaign for Charity Hospital Being a “Charity baby” Dr. John, eloquent spokeman Public opinion poll before Council and Mayoral election— overwhelming support in general electorate to re-use Charity Hospital. Benefit concert Second-line parade on Katrina anniversary 2009—supporters were not just “the preservationists.”34. VA Hospital Site (Street view)
  • 10. P a g e | 10 This fell outside of the city’s master planning process (!) Attitude: This is not really up for citizen discussion Streetscape The Section 106 consultation process was/is baffling to the average citizen. Combine this with NEPA review, and you get even more confusion.35. VA Hospital Site—S. Tonti (Wally Thurman’s home) Big hopes with NTHP legal challenge to FEMA and VA’s compliance with NEPA in their reviews for the impacts of the hospital plans— impacts of all kinds (environmental, historic, social justice) Key challenge was about breaking the review into segments called tiers: Tier I-Site Selection; Tier II-Design; Tier III-Operation. To avoid doing EIS. And not acknowledging or doing any meaningful analysis of cumulative impacts (as you would in an EIS) Also challenging their Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The resulting federal court decision: The agencies did in fact do enough and did it properly. Seeing a bleak history in the courts of success in appealing this type of decision, the NTHP didn’t pursue an appeal. Site clearance uses HUD $$ for buy-outs/seizures36. VA Hospital Site—Pan-American Building Skidmore Owings and Merrill building Date: 1952. Regional Modernism. To be used as admin building37. VA Hospital Site--Dixie Brewery, 1890’s Some portion of it might be incorporated with new construction38. VA Hospital Site—Before From Dixie Brewery39. VA Hospital Site—After
  • 11. P a g e | 11 Also from Dixie The Programmatic Agreement resulting from the Section 106 consultation creates a $1.4 million mitigation fund ($700,000 from VA, $400,000 from City, $300,000 from State) for work on contributing houses in other parts of the Mid-City NR District. $800,000 was earmarked to move buildings of “exceptional importance. At an estimated $32,000-$40,000 cost to move a house, the maximum would be 20-25.40. LSU/VA Site—Overview Moving away from Central Business District Leaving behind old medical centers with no planned uses. Talk of putting City Hall in Charity Building; other uses for former VA hospital (both of which were declared too damaged to return to.) Loss of 263 buildings, 165 of them contributing to the NR district. The VA funding was never in doubt, and construction is proceeding. The state had groundbreaking in April 2011 even though it’s not clear where all the funds will come from. State project is pegged at $930 million; anticipated borrowing $270 million.41. Moved Houses on N. Rocheblave Not planned for; ad hoc A solution for a situation that needn’t have occurred in the first place. Ultimately, Mayor’s office contributed $3.2 million, promising to move 100 houses. Less than 70 were moved.42. Moved House on N. Rocheblave Roofs removed to avoid having to deal with utility line moving costs. In June 2012, the community development corporation which received one of the relocated houses, asked the local preservation commission for approval to demolish it, when it was cited for demolition by neglect.
  • 12. P a g e | 12Now for some good news—some things that worked—43. Some things that worked: SHPO Hurricane Recovery Grants NTHP and States went to Congress Example of a repair program that worked $53 million to the Gulf through the National Park Service sending funds to SHPO’s. $22.7 million to LA in two rounds. Round I-about 290 properties. Round II—about 260 properties. Total of about 540 properties. Grants from $5,000--$45,00044. Things that worked: Home Again! Grants Home Again! New Orleans grants totaled about $400,000 for 25 projects.45. Things that worked: AmEx/NTHP Partners in Preservation Grants totaling $400,000 to five local community anchors: St. James AME Church; St. Alphonsus Church; Lafayette Cemetery No. 1; St. Augustine Parish Hall; Odyssey House.56. Things that worked: AmEx/NTHP Partners in Preservation Lafayette Cemetery No. 147. A Few Lessons Out of New Orleans48. A Few Lessons Out of New Orleans49. Contact InformationThank you very much!!

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