CLINTON HILL — The Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership has partnered with the Preservation League of New York State to find out if it's possible to preserve Civil War era homes and create new jobs at the same time.
“Normally historic preservation and job creation are pitted against each other,” said Michael Blaise Backer of the partnership. “People tend to think that they have to tear down old buildings in order to create jobs to build new ones,”
But the partnership had a different idea: a job-training program that teaches participants skills in detailed woodwork and masonry skills that can used to preserve and restore 150-year-old homes in the Wallabout neighborhood of Clinton Hill.
Wallabout has the largest concentration of pre-Civil War frame houses in the city, according to the Historic Districts Council. There are approximately 520 historic homes in the neighborhood today.
And last year, it was designated a historic district. Because of its new status, property owners get tax breaks and low-interest loans if they decided to restore their property. So the time could be right for a job-training program to take off.
But the feasibility of such a program still remains to be seen. The partnership, along with the Preservation League, will “study similar programs from across the country and analyze local conditions, such as the labor market and building stock, to determine how to best develop and launch a program in the historic Wallabout neighborhood,” according to the press release.
If the plan makes sense, next step will be unveiled in the spring of 2013.