|A Great restoration (Photo courtesy EPNIA website)|
The reasons are simple, attracting those willing to restore old houses is harder than ever before. While prices are generally down and there is a large influx of foreclosed properties , often once grand single families that have suffered the indignity of being turned into apartments, the credit markets have tightened and trying to find those willing to restore and finding resources to do the restoration have become extremely difficult.
One neighborhood in Illinois is trying a new approach of outreach to Preservation minded people and it could well become the latest tactic of emerging neighborhoods and historic preservationists who are trying to turn around a neighborhood by attracting reinvestment.
Known as "Blight Tours" or their more sanitized name "Urban Pioneer Tour"s, the Enos Park Neighborhood in Springfield Illinois is holding its "Urban Pioneer Home Tour' tommorrow (October 8th) from 1-4 PM and is offering the public an opportunity to see some of its "land banked homes', in progress homes, and see the preservation opportunities that exist in the Enos Park Neighborhood. the neighborhood group which has its own land bank and has been strategically buying property and vacant land and has amassed over 40 properties. The goal is to find those "Urban Pioneers" who want to restore and live in a great neighborhood. The group has partnered with lending institutions and other resources who will be on hand to provide information and resources. More info on the tour and Enos Park is available here:
I find this to be a great and solid approach to attracting preservation oriented people and is similar to the small private tours I have been giving of our Knox Hill neighborhood for some time and ties into our "Preservation Opportunity Tour" that Knox Hill Neighborhood Association is planning for Spring of 2012 when we will showcase two under restoration properties and several "opportunity' homes.
Clearly with changing times and challenges presented to neighborhoods new strategies are important.