Monday, December 29, 2008

A River Town on the Rise - Newport, KY

I'm not sure how long this link will be good at the CJ so read it soon - America's Comeback City, Newport KY. The authors are Matt Hanka and John Gilderbloom. They are with the Center for Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods at the University of Louisville:

Some excerpts, with bolding done by me to add emphasis.

"In an urban world beset with defeat, Newport is a feel-good story about how one small Ohio River city turned itself around with strong leadership, entrepreneurship, forward-thinking federally funding programs and effective partnerships between non-profit organizations, the higher education and business communities, city government and neighborhood leaders. "

"Historic Preservation districts have had the largest increase in property values."

"Much of the success in Newport is the result of steady and consistent leadership of Mayor Thomas Guidugli, who will complete his third and final term and 16 years in office as mayor at the end of 2008. This consistency has enabled the mayor and his staff to set goals and implement a common sense strategy for revitalizing Newport by aggressively pursuing property acquisition on the riverfront for the Newport on the Levee development and the Newport Aquarium."

If you live in New Albany and need inspiration you just found it. Sleepy little river towns can be revitalized. All it takes is leadership, common sense strategies, collaboration and effective partnerships. Let's get it on. Or move to Newport...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Festive New Albany Photographs

Some festive photographs from New Albany's historic neighborhoods. They might look familiar as they are a couple years old. Hope you enjoy nonetheless. A Happy Holiday to all!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

As my box gutters gently weep…

It seems in life - at least mine - that some decisions made come back to haunt me again and again. I can make the right call a thousand times but there can be one bad call that just won’t let go and it taints everything.

Box gutters (aka Built-in Gutters) were my bad call.

To understand the true depth of my anguish you have to realize the effort that I, personally, put in to restoration work on my home. It’s work that I really didn’t want to do in the first place, having been stiffed by a contractor whom I’d given money (that’s a sad recurring theme for me). I scrape, I sand, I paint, I do all the little things and I’m really good about attention to detail. Yes, I’m slow. But the job gets done right.

I can’t do everything. Lord knows I wish I could. I paid someone to re-line my gutters. They’ve all failed – letting water creep into places where water should not be. The decision to be made now?

Option 1. Abandon the box gutters completely replacing with a modern gutter system. This includes altering the roofline to cover the box gutters and tacking on gutters where the crown molding currently resides. The same crown molding I gently removed layers of paint from and restored to near pristine status.

Option 2(Preferred). Find a roofer/contractor to redo the work correctly. Easier said than done. I’ve been working this angle for a while. Keep in mind, I have the cash on hand to pay for this stinking work thanks in part to getting screwed by past contractors. They don’t show, I keep the money. I just want to give my cash to someone that will do the work right. Am I asking for too much?

If you know a reliable roofer that wants my money please email me contact information.

All I want for Christmas is to not have to walk around the house looking for water stains when it rains or snows. And I've been a good boy all year long.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Christmas Past and the Preservationist label

Christmas 1938 on Bank Street in the Portland (KY) neighborhood.

That’s not a bad haul for my Mom, age one at the time, especially considering the tough economic times the nation was facing. The country was struggling to emerge from the Great Depression. Unemployment was 19%. The family was also resettling after the 1937 flood. In the next year War would erupt in Europe. Lives would be changed drastically.

The connections with Christmas 2008, seventy years later? We’re dealing with extraordinary economic issues, war and even recovering from our own climate calamities.

My personal connection is a material one with the Christmas tree. Nestled in my tree are many of the same ornaments from that 1938 tree.
They’ve had quite journey. They represent much more than glass balls hung on a tree. They are my connection to that time. They are worth the time and effort I invest to preserve them. They are irreplaceable.

Protecting and appreciating history and heritage is important to me. It doesn’t matter what it is - ornaments, family history, architecture, houses and structures, community identity - the connections to our past matter.

That’s what being a preservationist means to me and I carry the label proudly.

Are you a preservationist?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

New Albany Heritage Poster Series Unveiling Today

This is so cool. My friends and neighbors William and Laurie Arbaugh are two creative and dedicated people. This poster series, available exclusively at Destinations Booksellers, is a fabulous concept and I look forward to future releases.