Restore Jacksonville 2012

April 25, 2012 31 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

The City of Jacksonville has an immense number of older buildings over 50 years old; Our locally designated historic districts and landmarks include over 8,000 properties. Additional historic neighborhoods such as Arlington, San Marco, Ortega, Murray Hill, Durkeeville, and East Jacksonville, increase the number of structures by an exponential amount. These buildings have unique features that give these areas special character, but also require an appreciation, understanding and skill set by contractors and other building professionals. While much of the costs associated with new construction work today go directly to materials and products produced outside the city, historic preservation and rehabilitation projects generally center on specialized repair work and the retention of historic fabric, which means more dollars going to hire local workers and less construction debris going to our landfills.

Historic Preservation not only makes good economic sense but is also a very sustainable practice.

In October 2007, the City helped fund the first Restore Jacksonville event.  This three day program provided valuable information for homeowners, preservation enthusiasts, investors and contractors, from researching the history of one’s home to navigating the City’s review processes.  Five years later, the timing is perfect for holding a second Restore Jacksonville conference.  This time taking it one step further to show how an old house can also be a green home.

Barnett Bank Building image courtesy of Nomeus.

In April 2011, the City of Jacksonville applied for a State of Florida Preserve America Grant to host a local historic preservation and sustainability conference.  The basic goals and focus areas of the conference include:

1. Showcase how old buildings are inherently green

2. Showcase the best practices for making old buildings more energy efficient

3. Provide a training for contractors and other professionals working on historic buildings

4. Educate owners of older buildings on how to properly maintain and restore their structures

5. Inspire students/unemployed to pursue specialized building trades and increase the restoration workforce

6. Provide a better understanding of the Historic District Design Regulations and Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) review process

7. Educate the public on historic preservation and the economic benefits of historic preservation as outlined as an objective of Jacksonville’s Comprehensive Plan

During the first week of May 2012, homeowners and building professionals will have an excellent opportunity to learn more about how preserving older buildings was one of the first green concepts, how to make an old house more efficient, and how sustainability begins with preservation.  Why stop with recycling plastic and aluminum when you can reuse an entire building, capitalizing on its unique character, original green design, old growth wood, existing infrastructure, urban setting and embodied energy?  

This five day conference is filled with educational and entertaining sessions with nationally known speakers and local experts.  The intense two-day training on Wednesday and Thursday will cover historic preservation and energy efficiency topics that enable contractors and other building professionals to become better experts for their clients and avoid costly mistakes.  The general public sessions on Saturday will help homeowners make wiser choices for their older home, while learning more about Jacksonville’s architectural heritage.  The Restoration Resource Expo Hall will introduce attendees to products and services that help restore, repair and “green” old buildings.  Sunday’s events will provide interesting site visits to see first hand how “old” and “green” work together.  Friday’s speaker on downtown revitalization and the economic benefits and sustainable practices of historic preservation are not to be missed.  Lastly, special events include the Jacksonville Historic Preservation Commission’s Annual Preservation Awards on Thursday evening.

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