Preservation Projects Including One in Dorchester Up for Voting
American Express and the National Trust for Historic Preservation teamed up to create an initiative. This particular initiative is holding a vote, which will decide on the historic parks and sites that will receive $2 million in funds for its preservation projects. One of these sites is in Dorchester.
A simple yet thriving neighborhood in Boston, Dorchester has a two-part preservation project, and it is in the running for the voting. The supporters of the places, including for Dorchester, have until the 31st of October to show that they back the site for its upcoming projects.
Dorchester’s Main Streets Campaign
As mentioned, there is a two-part plan, and the funding that it could receive would be a great help for development and the outcome of the project itself. The plan for Dorchester involves the Pierce Building, which is situated at the Uphams Corner.
The goal of this particular development project, which is dubbed as the 2017 Partners in Preservation: Main Streets, is to turn the building into a lively hub for the neighborhood’s Arts and Culture Innovation District. That is the first part of the construction.
Meanwhile, the second part is to renovate the Comfort Station, which has been around for more than 115 years. It is right across Columbia Road, and it will be transformed into a coffee and bike shop. This particular shop would also be used as the Bowdoin Bike School’s spot, a highly rated teaching bike shop that currently has its location at the Southern Avenue in Dorchester.
Just in August of 2015, Bowdoin Bike opened their new location just nearby the Codman Square. The school has already moved to several locations in the past. Two years ago, it settled in Dorchester, specifically at 14 Southern Avenue. Bowdoin Bike School’s transfer garnered a lot of attention at that time because it attracted several volunteers to help the shop get in shape one day before its grand opening.
If the second part of the project materializes after the voting takes place, Bowdoin could once again move to this part of Dorchester.
Main Streets campaign needs to earn enough votes just like the other sites. If it does, it could be awarded $150,000 worth of funds. Voting is done at the website of National Geographic.
An Invitation to Vote
The public is encouraged to vote for their favorite historic site. The preservation group headed by National Geographic in cooperation with American Express is inviting citizens to choose the projects that they believe would improve Main Streets all around the United States, including the one in Dorchester.
About 25 cities are competing for the $2 million funding, including Boston, Miami, and Seattle. These big cities are vying for money support that would help improve or at least preserve their parks, landmarks, theaters, and other venues. The nominated sites include those that are found in downtowns, cultural districts, and historic neighborhoods.
The Main Streets for the campaign of Dorchester’s community has already been discussed above, so this leaves the other candidates for review. Dorchester is up against 24 other proposals, such as one that would create a park that would showcase vintage neon signs, which would be put up in Casa Grande in Arizona.
There is also another proposal that aims to preserve the famous Formosa Café, located in West Hollywood’s Route 66 in California. There are other several cities looking for a way to fund their preservation projects, especially historical theaters such as the Woodward Theater found in the city of Cincinnati. The Yale Theater is also being pushed by Oklahoma City for preservation.
The Voting Mechanics
Those who would like to vote for their favorite places can go to VoteYourMainStreet.org, which is found on National Geographic’s website since they are hosting the voting process. Interested people can simply go to the website where they can cast their vote once a day every day until October 31st. They can choose up to five projects that they would like to show their support.
The winners of the preservation project contest will be announced on the 2nd of November this year. The sites with the most number of votes will receive grants amounting to $150,000 each. The money will be given to as many projects as possible from the total budget of $2 million.
Here is the list of the 25 projects that are proposed for preservation or improvement:
- The marquee for the Alabama Theater in Birmingham (Alabama)
- The marquee for the Market Street Mall in Richmond (California)
- Formosa Café in Route 66, West Hollywood (California)
- Stevens-Hartley Annex in San Diego (California)
- Carolina Theater in Greensboro (North Carolina)
- E. Romero Hose and Fire Building located in Las Vegas (New Mexico)
- The marquee for the Woodward Theater in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati (Ohio)
- Yale Theater in Oklahoma City (Oklahoma)
- Ives Square’s bandstand and its park in Cape Girardeau (Missouri)
- Bryant Graves House located in Atlanta’s Sweet Auburn district (Georgia)
- The vintage neon sign at the park in Casa Grande (Arizona)
- Caboose in Steamboat Springs’ Creative District (Colorado)
- A cable car building that was constructed in 1893 at Hyde Park (Illinois)
- A lyric theater in West Des Moines (Iowa)
- Manuel Airtime Theater in Little Havana neighborhood in the city of Miami (Florida)
- Pierce Building as well as the Streetcar Comfort Station in the neighborhood of Dorchester Arts and Culture Innovation District in Boston (Massachusetts)
- Old McCrory’s Store in New Orleans (Louisiana)
- James Hughes Building in Washington DC
- The historic buildings located in Salt Lake City’s Granary District (Utah)
- The exterior of Collin County Courthouse in McKinney (Texas)
- Dr. McPhail Building in Franklin (Tennessee)
- The fading signs on different historic buildings in Seattle’s Chinatown (Washington)
- African-American landmarks including the Trower Building and Parker Hall in the Germantown neighborhood in Philadelphia (Pennsylvania)
- Restoration Plaza in the neighborhood of Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn (New York)
- A tree house in the northwest Livernois or 6 Mile corridors in Detroit (Michigan)
All the sites mentioned above have a historical significance in their respective cities.
It is Not Something New
The awarding of funds from the Partners in Preservation contest has been ongoing for quite some time now. In fact, in 2016, there was an active competition as well. However, during that time, there were only 20 park sites that joined. They were also eligible for winning a part of the million dollar monetary support from the preservation group.
This year, there are obviously more participants in the contest. The funds offered in 2016 were higher though with up to $250,000. Just like today, there were national parks, memorial, monument, historic site, and recreation areas that joined the contest.
Aside from giving help in the form of corporate funds, the contest also aims to raise awareness regarding the facilities related to funding in the parks system in the country. Many people are not conscious that there is actually a large bill associated with the maintenance of national parks.
What Sites will Win?
Just like last year, the most popular sites will receive the $150,000 grant from the contest. In July of 2016, the winners were announced, and they were the Yellowstone National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Mt. Rainier National Park, Yosemite National Park, World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The total winnings last year amounted to $1.8 million in grants, which would be used to fund the preservation projects of each area. Meanwhile, the nonprofit partners of the other national parks that participated in the contest still received some funding that totaled $10,000 each at the outset of the promotion. All in all, the grants given to all the participants were equivalent to $2 million.
The Partners in Preservation has been around for more than a decade now. The initiative that is community-based was created to raise awareness to the people as they continue to preserve the historic places around the country. The organizers believe that it is an excellent way for private groups to show their support for the national park system in the United States.
The grants before and now are useful in enabling the parks around the nation to be restored and preserved. Most of the participants are historical features that are deemed priceless, which is why they deserve to get the attention they demand.
In connection with preservation, Boston has an upcoming event to address issues in preservation all over the city, not just in the Dorchester. In November, a preservation lecture will tackle the problems that Boston may face because of its exponential growth over the last few years alone.
Aside from the lecture, there are also other events as well as redevelopment projects that aim at restoring or improving many sites all over Boston. Some neighborhoods are being transformed into a mixed-use community which would be helpful for both the residents and the business-minded individuals.