### Citiwire.net Fri, July 5, 2013
Organic Renewal: St Joe’s Story
By Roberta Brandes Gratz
In the mid- and late 1960s, while many cities and towns were still tearing their hearts out for the false promises of urban renewal, all sorts of people, young and old, saw the beauty, value and promise of gracious living in historic buildings in the places left behind by suburban development. From San Francisco to Louisville to Providence to Brooklyn to St Louis and beyond, urban pioneers stripped, cleaned and restored the irreplaceable artifacts of bygone eras of quality and taste.
Those pioneers were the vanguard of the regeneration of neighbourhoods and cities that, today, many people do not remember were considered a blighted lost cause. Washington’s Georgetown. Park Slope in Brooklyn. King William in San Antonio. The Garden District in New Orleans. The Victorian Districts of San Francisco and Savannah. Who remembers that those neighbourhoods were once considered “blighted,” over, finished?
Surely, this is the most compelling storyline of the second half of the last century. The rebirth of today’s thriving cities started with the rediscovery of yesterday’s discards. That, as they say, is history. But history has a funny way of repeating itself. Today, one finds examples of that organic renewal process re-emerging.
Many cities have lost more than what remains of the authentic architecture on which to build a new momentum. Miraculously, one that survives with an amazing rich legacy to work with is St Joseph, Mo.
Set on a bend in the Missouri River and almost equidistant from Kansas City and Omaha, St Joseph was a railroad, lumber and banking centre and, most importantly, the last full provisioning point for the Westward Expansion in the mid-nineteenth century. It’s the birthplace of the Pony Express, the site of Jesse James’ demise, home of Stetson Hat, Saltine crackers and Aunt Jemima.
St Joseph is still home to a diverse assortment of agriculture-related industry. The past and present combine to offer new opportunities, and a small but growing group of adventurous entrepreneurs appear to be present to lead the way, like the urban pioneers of 50 years ago.
● Roberta Brandes Gratz is an urban critic and author of The Battle For Gotham: New York In the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs, 2010, Nation Books.
Dunedin City Council – Media Release
Grants Scheme for Central City Heritage Buildings
This item was published on 05 Jul 2013.
The DCC now has $90,000 available in grants for heritage building re-use projects in Princes Street and areas adjoining the Warehouse Precinct. Like the Warehouse Precinct scheme, this new grant scheme is focused on a specific geographic area to facilitate and expand the regeneration occurring there already. There has been good success with targeted incentive schemes in the Warehouse Precinct. Expanding into the areas around it recognises that the precinct is not an island, but is integrated with the areas around in and with the central city as a whole.
There is already some great work stirring regeneration in the area and it is important we are also poised to assist and encourage others to participate in this regeneration of the area south of the Octagon.
Applications can be made for support for a range of activities, from earthquake strengthening and facade restoration to assistance for businesses and creative industries in the area. The scheme allows building owners to build on the growing positive private sector re-use and investment in the area, such as the Chief Post Office, former BNZ and Standard Building restoration projects already or soon to be underway.
The scheme is supported by Resene Paints which is offering discounts on paint and free colour advice. Resene Otago Trade Representative Henry Van Turnhout says, “We are proud to be offering our support to another DCC area-based project, as we have for King Edward St and the Warehouse Precinct. We are also offering free assistance with colour selection as we recognise how greatly appropriate colour choice can influence the way a building – and an area – looks.”
Taking an area-based approach to regeneration and incentives encourages businesses and building owners to work together and to recognise the benefits for the entire area of re-using or improving their building.
Applications are open immediately, on a first come first served basis. Application forms will be sent to building owners, residents and businesses owners in the next week and are at www.dunedin.govt.nz/heritage
Last year’s Warehouse Precinct grants scheme supported 11 re-use projects in the area. Information about these is available at here.
Contact Glen Hazelton, DCC Policy Planner on 477 4000.
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
*Images: (from top) commons.wikimedia.org Tim Kiser – St Joseph, Missouri (2006): Buchanan County Courthouse, Downtown cnr Francis St and North 4th St, Downtown viewed from the east near cnr 10th and Charles. Dunedin: South Princes St (2007 watercolour by Elizabeth Gorden-Werner), former Gresham Hotel at Queens Gardens, Speight’s (Lion Breweries) on Rattray St; commons.wikimedia.org Benchill – Dunedin Central Fire Station, Castle St.