New African-American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Will Help to Preserve Overlooked Historic Places, Bring Preservation Funding to Underrepresented Communities and Uncover the Untold Stories of Communities of Color
In addition to helping support direct action needed to protect threatened sites of historic significance and addressing critical funding gaps for their preservation, the fund will also help to uncover hidden stories of African-Americans connected to historic sites across the nation, empower youth through National Trust’s Hands On Preservation Experience program, support research on preservation’s impact on contemporary urban problems that disproportionately affect communities of color, and advocate for preservation funding for underrepresented communities.
The city and the Delta Institute’s Steel City Salvage project just won a $385,000 grant from the Knight Foundation to deconstruct homes and recycle the building materials like lumber and architectural features. It was the largest individual grant out of the $5 million awarded in the Knight Cities Challenge, which had attracted more than 4,500 proposals from across the country.
“This is not simply about the demolition of vacant and abandoned buildings,” Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said. “But it promotes the deconstruction of vacant and abandoned buildings, as well as the repurposing and recycling of the material. One of the things we know about the city of Gary is there are beautiful homes here that have fallen into disrepair, that cannot be repurposed but the materials in those homes can certainly be reused for something else.”
“Our combined initiatives to preserve and reuse our historic industrial sites reflect our growing understanding that Connecticut’s identity is encompassed in its industrial past not just its iconic town green,” said Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation Executive Director Helen Higgins. “Creative and feasible re-use of industrial buildings will transform our state and infuse economic vitality in our towns and cities.”