• Historic Shed recently completed the installation of a custom garden shed in the VM Ybor Community Garden. Funded by a community grant from Hillsborough County, the small shed was designed in the Ybor City architectural vernacular; the shed features a gable roof design, lap siding, metal roof and other architectural elements common in the area. Area residents will use the shed to store communal gardening tools to tend the sixteen individual plots to grow vegetables and herbs. The garden plots are available free to area residents to plant as they please. The grant requires that the community members participate in the grant project; residents will paint the shed and install the foundation tie downs.  

  • When you go shopping, do you think about the local impact your dollars are making?More and more, we are learning that where we spend our money is an important part of stimulating the local economy. For example, according to a study conducted in Austin, Texas by Civics Economics, for every $100 spent at a local book store, $45 stayed in Austin. And for every $100 spent at a typical Borders chain store, only $13 went back into local circulation. Therefore, as we get tighter with what we spend our dollars on, it makes sense to think about where we are shopping as well.It is understandable that shopping locally strengthens your community. Individual businesses purchase more goods and services from other local businesses than chains. They employ local accountants, hire local graphic artists, and purchase materials from local suppliers. Local business owners also support community activities and groups, sponsor local sports teams, and tend to be active in community affairs.In addition, locally owned businesses are often located in walkable downtown areas, often in historic buildings, rather than located in isolated, parking lot-surrounded mega structures that are only accessible by car. As a result, local businesses are a vital component to revitalizing historic commercial areas. This gives our communities diversity and helps towns retain their uniqueness and authenticity while encouraging local innovation and creativity.One great way to learn about the great local shops that are located in the Tampa Bay area is to go to LocalShops1, a website with the area's largest network of local, independent businesses and independent-minded shoppers. In addition to listing and promoting local businesses and non-profits, LocalShops1 has now launched the 1 Card which offers discounts at many area shops. Historic Shed is proud to be a participant in the LocalShops1 efforts and will offer monthly specials for 1 Card carriers.For more reasons to shop locally, please see this well-thought out blog post on the benefits of shopping locally.

  • The Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission recently recognized 16 projects for their contributions to the quality of life in Hillsborough County at the Planning Commission’s 50th Anniversary Celebration and 27th Annual Community Design Awards. The Florida Department of Transportation, City of Tampa, and the Federal Highway Administration were among the Award of Excellence recipients for the Interstate 4 Historic Preservation Mitigation Project in the category of Historic Preservation/Restoration.Beginning in 1987, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) developed a master plan for much-needed interstate system improvements in Hillsborough County. After every effort had been made to minimize and avoid adverse impacts within the Ybor CityNational Historic Landmark District, 10% of the nearly 1,000 historic buildings would still have to be cleared to widen I-4. After almost three years of research and negotiations between federal, state and local agencies, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed in late 1996. The methods for minimizing the impacts were unprecedented in their magnitude and included the relocation of 64 historic buildings, with FHWA and FDOT being responsible for the rehabilitation of 35 of the buildings within the proposed highway footprint.Twenty-six of the buildings chosen for relocation as part of the Tampa Interstate Study project were located on the north side of I-4 in the most desolate part of the neighborhood. The single-family homes were moved to vacant lots within a five-block area, sited carefully to recreate the historic streetscapes. Design plans were reviewed by both the Florida Division of Historic Resources and the local Barrio Latino Commission and typically included rebuilding of deteriorated front porches, replacement of inappropriate windows and doors, new metal roofs, and structural repairs. Low walls, typical of the area, were constructed at each relocated site with plaques stating the building’s original location and date of relocation. Interior renovations removed modifications that had subdivided many homes into multi-resident units and to accommodate contemporary living requirements for kitchens, baths and closets. Once rehabbed, FDOT transferred ownership of the buildings to the City of Tampa, which then sold the homes to private individuals for appraised value. As a result of the project improvements, there has been a noticeable increase in private investment in the surrounding area, both from long-time owners now choosing to improve their homes and rental units and from outside investors purchasing vacant commercial and residential property.Five historic homes were part of the "Las Casitas" project and moved to land near the Ybor City State Museum, south of I-4, where the 7th Avenue commercial district is located. One two-story “camel back” house was relocated to a vacant lot adjacent to the State Museum and now houses the Museum Gift Shop, giving the Museum a larger street presence and allowing for expanded merchandise offerings. The other four homes were placed on an adjacent vacant block flanking a relocated brick commercial building to replicate a historic streetscape. These retail shops are rented by the Museum’s not-for-profit support organization to generate revenue for Museum programs.Preservation Resource, Inc. has been honored to have worked on this project with FDOT and FHWA personnel along with with project coordinator Elaine Illes of IPI and cultural resource consultants from Janus Research along with local renovation contractors, South-Co, Goldsborough and Semco.

  • As a historic preservation consultant, I find writing about historic preservation and its numerous benefits one of the more difficult tasks to tackle. I have a passion for saving and restoring old buildings and feel good about the positive effects to communities, the environment and the economy, but never feel that I can convey that enthusiasm adequately when I write. Sometimes I feel like I am stating the obvious, spouting out common sense that doesn't need to be said; other times it just comes out too dry and leaves out the very real human factor in preservation.Judy L. Hayward, education director for Restore Media, LLC, publisher of Traditional Building magazine and Period Homes magazine, among other accomplishments, does not have this problem when she writes about historic preservation. She recently wrote a "Dear President Obama" forum post that outlines the benefits of historic preservation, tying in the economic, public and personal benefits in a very humble and practical manner. Most importantly, she does not lay the task of preserving and restoring our communities and their historic resources at just the government's feet, but calls all citizens to action.

  • Historic Preservation is one of the most inherently "green" professions in addition to providing a multitude of benefits to communities. It can be an effective economic tool for redevelopment, foster business development, create jobs and strengthen communities. Yet many see efforts at historic preservation merely as exercises in nostalgia and as an infringement on property rights. The following are some reasons other than wanting to retain beautiful buildings for being a proponent of historic preservation: When you choose to repair and restore an existing home, you are performing the ultimate recycling project. Sustainable practice recommendations include considering the embodied energy of products in addition to the long-term energy savings. When a historic home is demolished, all the energy used to produce and assemble the home is wasted. Since the energy is already expended, preserving the home has much less impact on the environment. Historic Preservation reduces landfill wastes. Estimates vary, but it is commonly accepted that between 15% and 20% of municipal solid waste comes from construction and demolition projects. Obviously, landfill debris would be reduced if more people choose to preserve an existing building rather than demolish and build new. When true preservation practices are followed during historic home renovations ("repair rather than replace"), waste is reduced even more. According to noted economist and historic preservation advocate, Donovan Rypkema, "Sustainable Development requires environmental responsibility, economic responsibility, and social/cultural responsibility." Preservation and renovation of existing building stock is the one type of development that merges these three elements, helping maintain vibrant, livable communities in addition to being environmentally and economically responsible. Since most historic Florida buildings were built without air conditioning, they already utilize many energy saving features that "green" designers are rediscovering. Items such as wide overhangs, operable windows with screens, screen doors, awnings and ceiling fans can reduce cooling costs when used during our more temperate months instead of relying on mechanical systems. In addition, historic buildings are often constructed of more durable materials than are readily available today. We agree completely with the National Trust for Historic Preservation's policy statement on community revitalization: "Revitalizing our historic hometowns and Main Streets is not about nostalgia. It is about reinvesting in our older and historic neighborhoods. Preservation-based community development not only protects our heritage, but also is a viable alternative to sprawl that creates affordable housing, generates jobs, supports independent businesses, increases civic participation, and bolsters a community's sense of place." Historic preservation makes economic sense. Studies have shown that investment in historic neighborhoods and commercial centers stabilize property values, encourage redevelopment, stimulate business development, and generate tourist dollars. Places that people love and care about do not spring up overnight; they are built over time, giving them a sense of those who came before and developing character that is unlike anywhere else. Preserving these buildings and sites gives us a sense of place and provide a tangible link to our heritage. We hope that Historic Shed products and services can help efforts to maintain and preserve historic properties while improving their functionality.