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Cleveland faces a number of specific challenges in the area of Historic Preservation, which need to be addressed:

  • Public Education on the Benefits of Preservation: Despite the recognized economic benefits of historic preservation, there remains a continuing and urgent need to ensure the preservation of the city’s most significant neighborhood buildings in addition to preserving the overall character of residential and commercial historic districts. The challenge lies in the need to convey to property owners, developers, architects, contractors, and all citizens the ways in which these tangible links to our past are important to the quality of life in Cleveland today, and for our future--how they represent who we are and what we value as a city and a community.

  • Use of Synthetic Replacement Materials: With growing pressure from property owners to use synthetic materials such as vinyl windows and siding, there is a need to educate the public about the advantages, financial as well as less tangible, of maintaining original materials and design elements. As building technologies and economic realities change, there is also a need on the part of the preservation community to develop a more sophisticated approach to the uses, methods, and application of synthetic materials.

  • Adaptive Reuse of Historic Buildings: Though Cleveland has witnessed a significant amount of adaptive reuse of historic buildings in the recent past, the need will continue for creative ways to find new uses for buildings that have lost their original function. Whether it is a warehouse, a church, a school, or other building type that speaks to the quality of life and vitality of a neighborhood, renewed efforts will be required to find economically feasible and historically sensitive ways to preserve them.

  • People’s Changing Expectations: As we move into the 21 st century, people’s expectations about their living, working, and educational needs, especially their expectations about housing, will continue to evolve. The desire to incorporate more convenient amenities, less maintenance, more security, and modern elements in their houses will be reflected in new construction and the way in which historic housing stock is renovated. Attached garages, use of synthetic materials, nearby parking, larger more efficient interiors, and new in-fill housing are some of the pressures that will require guidelines if historic neighborhoods and buildings are to retain the elements, both large and small, that give them their unique character. People will continue to desire modern residences, state-of-the-art facilities, and convenient amenities for their changing lifestyles. The feeling that “new is better than old” must be challenged by an equally strong assertion that modern, cutting-edge 21 st century amenities can be found in the creative and economically feasible reuse of historic buildings.

  • New Construction and Public Amenities: Equally important to the preservation of our historic neighborhoods is an approach to new in-fill construction that respects both the reality of new construction methods and the overall character of the existing historic context. Review of new design should respect contemporary methods and materials, but emphasize characteristics that define any given historic neighborhood, including large issues like scale, massing, and porch configuration, and design details like railings and window surrounds. There must be an expectation of high quality in design that respects, without imitating, the historic context. Equally important are the retention of public elements that contribute to the character and quality of life in historic neighborhoods. Streetscape elements, parks, curb cuts, and landscaping are elements which also contribute to the nature of the buildings they are intended to complement and enhance.

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