Jamaica National Heritage Trust -  Pedro Bank - Jamaica

Dis 'N Dat


This section contains motley group of Jamaican Heritage trivia. Items that we think are important but fall into no particular category. We hope you will enjoy browsing them.

Investing In Heritage

How viable is it?

There is the view that the preservation of historic buildings and economic development are incompatible, because of the cost involved in restoration, and the fact that converting and maintaining historic buildings require more care and attention to detail than ordinary ones. Added to this, in nearly all instances historic buildings have to be fitted to meet present standards and needs, such as air conditioning, disabled access and car parking. Some cities, however, have been successful in using their built heritage to create historic areas which combine economic success with the highest architectural and environmental standards, for example, St. Williamsburg in Virginia (U. S. A.).

Although historic structures may not be suitable for every type of use, they are especially attractive for certain types of activities such as tourism, housing, shopping and entertainment from which several benefits may be obtained. Historic buildings can contribute significantly through tourism to earnings of foreign exchange. Well-maintained historic sites encourage visitors, bringing money into the area and increasing property values. Government can also receive considerable sums in taxation resulting from spending by people visiting and enjoying the architectural heritage of a city. In Britain for example, there are indications that one of the main reasons for visitors to the country is because of its architectural heritage. This scenario also augurs well for local employment for wherever there is an expansion in the tourism industry, there is also job creation.

The challenge lies in offering attractive packages to those individuals who may be interested in the restoration of historic buildings. Low interest loans organised by financial institutions could be made available to those seeking to restore older structures. Grants from public sector sources could also be organised as well as fundraising activities by heritage foundations to assist designated property owners to preserve their properties. Technical assistance from persons who understand the special problems of historic areas should also be readily available. It may also prove beneficial if the leading heritage agency in the country offers preservation awards to organisations which restore important historic structures for reuse. For example, the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States offered a National Preservation Honour Award to the F & M Bank in Winchester, Virginia in 1999. The bank was chosen because it saved important historic structures and in so doing helped to spur a dramatic revitalisation of downtown Winchester. Although the rehabilitation of the structures in this area may have been more expensive than demolition, it brought encouraging results. The restoration of the historic buildings brought more than twenty-seven (27) new businesses to downtown Winchester and the revenue in the area was increased.

It would seem therefore, that the regeneration and revitalisation of historic sites would bring definite benefits to the community as in such a case there is increased economic activity and job opportunities and the conversion of underused or vacant properties result in the protection and usefulness of a city’s built heritage.



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