May 8, 2018
RICHMOND – Preservation Virginia has released its 2018 Most Endangered Historic Places list, which includes 11 entries that represent some of this year’s most pressing preservation issues. The list, which features nominations from local preservation groups and individuals, examines the threats facing Virginia’s endangered historic places and offers solutions for each issue.
Some of the preservation issues highlighted on this year’s list include intentional acts by local governments to demolish or replace historic resources despite strong community opposition, the threat to historic resources from recurring and nuisance flooding and neglected historic African American sites.
Roanoke Fire Station #7, historic neighborhoods in the Norfolk area, and Grace Heritage Center – built in 1885 in Loudoun County by formerly enslaved African Americans with support from the Quaker community – are examples of 2018 Most Endangered listings that represent these issues respectively.
“Several of the individual site listings this year point out a couple ways to look at how historic preservation is being increasingly embraced by communities across the Commonwealth,” says Justin Sarafin, Preservation Virginia’s director of preservation initiatives and engagement. “While we highlight some instances of high-profile buildings threatened with demolition, it should be noted that in these very same localities a lot of great work has been done.”
In recent years, thematic listings have been included and re-listed on the Most Endangered list to highlight different types of historic resources and longer-term preservation threats. One such listing reintroduced this year is the Section 106 review process of the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act. This review process requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their projects on historic properties and afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation a reasonable opportunity to comment.
Threats to Virginia’s historic resources continue to unfold due to inadequate Section 106 review processes for projects like the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP), Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) and planned transmission towers across the James River.
In August 2017, Preservation Virginia and the National Trust for Historic Preservation filed a lawsuit challenging the federal permit issued by the Army Corps of Engineers for the construction of transmission towers across the James River. This lawsuit seeks to require the Army Corps to complete a full evaluation of alternatives to the project by conducting an Environmental Impact Statement that includes a thorough review of the project’s negative impacts on Jamestown, the James River and other significant historic resources.
“Over the past several years, we have seen an undermining of Section 106 review process best practices with major infrastructural projects that will unquestionably degrade Virginia’s natural beauty and historical integrity,” says Sarafin. “While the Section 106 review process is the main legal framework for reviewing potential negative impacts of federally-permitted projects, the inadequacy with which it has been undertaken with respect to the ACP and MVP has rendered many resources and communities vulnerable.”
An overview of Preservation Virginia’s Most Endangered Historic Places program can be found at preservationvirginia.org/programs/most-endangered.
804-648-1889 ext. 304