Helen McKane Fighting to Restore Florida's History

The restoration of old buildings is not just based in nostalgia. It's a viable, sustainable practice. Helen Mckane is working to make this a reality in Florida.

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Helen Mckane Launching Florida's Historic Restoration Project

Donovan Rypkema, a renowned expert in historic preservation, firmly believes that sustainable development is more than just environmental responsibility. In a 2007 presentation given at the Historic Districts Council Annual Conference in New York City, Rypkema, who has a master's degree in Historic Preservation from Columbia University, noted that "sustainable development is crucial for economic competitiveness" and "historic preservation is, in and of itself, sustainable development."

Helen McKane is applying these principles to her hometown of Homestead, Fla. Homestead, the second-oldest city in Miami-Dade County, has many historic buildings and McKane has created a movement to renovate and recondition them.

Her first projects include a country store and two houses. "These are properties that will have more use to the community if they are restored, rather than torn down," she explains. "Plus, it's a shame to destroy buildings that are beautiful and have historic value to the community. This is classical architecture.

"Through economic re-use, we can save money and make these traditional structures functional once again. Plus, we will be using local builders and creating jobs."

As valuable as this movement is, it is also an expensive one. McKane estimates that it will cost $1.5 million for acquisition costs, realtors' fees, rehabilitation and construction costs, architectural and engineering fees, legal and professional fees, developers' fees, and general and administrative costs.

In order to generate this capital, McKane has launched an Indiegogo campaign. Donations of any amount are welcome.
"We are hoping that people from our area will embrace this project as well as folks from all over the country," she says. "Even a small contribution will help people realize that historic renovation is good for the community, the local economy and the environment."

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Source: Helen McKane

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