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Selected Section 106 Cases, 1986-1996: Southeast

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virgin Islands

Gaming Parlor construction, Wetumpka, Alabama, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), 1991. Plans by the Poarch Band of the Creek Indians to construct a Class II Bingo Gaming Operation at Hickory Ground, near Wetumpka, Alabama, generated strong opposition from other Creek Nation tribes, local citizens, the State Attorney General's Office, and the Alabama SHPO. A site of great cultural and archeological importance, Hickory Ground once served as the Creek Nation's governmental center before the Creeks were forcibly removed to what is now Oklahoma. Saved from development in the early 1980s through SHPO intervention (the SHPO used Federal historic preservation funds to help finance the endeavor), the property was conveyed to the Poarch Band with covenants to be held in trust by BIA. Consultation under Section 106 was unsuccessful, and the Council's Chairman ultimately convened a panel of Council members to hold a public meeting for the purposes of issuing comments to BIA.

Held in Montgomery, Alabama, the public meeting gave local citizens and Creek Nation representatives their first and, for all practical purposes, their only real opportunity to voice concerns about the project. Following the meeting and review of its findings, the Council panel urged BIA and the Poarch Band to identify an alternative site for the development. BIA later rejected the recommendation. The Poarch Band has since broadened development plans for Hickory Ground to include Class III casino gambling, a change that might require further review by the Council.

Federal Courthouse construction, Fort Myers, Florida, General Services Administration (GSA), 1994. GSA plans to build a Federal courthouse in downtown Fort Myers were well-received, until city residents found that the preferred construction site was where a local landmark, the Collier Arcade, stood. Consultation with the city, the SHPO, and GSA, in addition to a public meeting requested by the Council, enabled consulting parties to identify key local historic preservation issues and find ways to address them within the confines of GSA program goals. Of particular significance, Fort Myers city officials came to realize the importance of their local preservation ordinance and subsequently appointed commission members and staff to use it. In the future, identification and protection of local historic properties will be provided for.

Metropolitan Detention Center construction, Miami, Florida, Federal Bureau of Prisons, 1991. How can a Federal agency mesh the need for a high-security detention center with community residents' desire to preserve the modest early-20th-century commercial buildings on the proposed construction site? The Section 106 process provided a forum for the exploration of alternatives ranging from wholesale demolition of the area known as "Chaille Block," to moving the detention center to another equally controversial site. Consulting parties identified FBOP program elements that could be housed in the restored--albeit non-secure--historic buildings, permitting the historic buildings to be retained as an active part of the street scape, and meeting the Federal Government's need for a high-security facility in downtown Miami.

Peary Court military housing construction, Key West, Florida, U.S. Navy, 1990. The Navy planned to construct military housing adjacent to the Key West Historic District and went so far as to award the construction contract absent Section 106 consultation with the Key West Historic Preservation Commission, much less the Florida SHPO. When the winning design was released, public outcry was immediate: The Navy had accepted a design that reflected no awareness of the urban housing context and was wholly out of character with the historic district. The Council and the Florida SHPO used the Section 106 process to force the Navy to reopen the case and consult with the local community. As a result, the Navy redesigned the project, and the residents of Key West, through their historic preservation commission, reviewed and approved the more compatible housing design.

Big Haynes Creek reservoir construction, Rockdale County, Georgia, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1994. Threatened by litigation and delayed by public opposition and flaws in Corps permit issuance, this water storage project was in grave jeopardy when the Council entered into the Section 106 consultation process. By conducting a public meeting, engaging disgruntled citizens in constructive dialogue, and formulating a process for the treatment of archeological and historic resources in the future, the Council got the project back on track and concluded Section 106 review absent further challenges. The agreement reached provides for protection of an important African-American cemetery and future use and interpretation of resources within the Haralson Mill Multiple Property District.

East-West Connector construction, Cobb County, Georgia, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1995. Corps plans to construct a road that would have bisected the Concord Covered Bridge Historic District generated significant local controversy for almost ten years. Local historic preservationists familiar with the Section 106 process worked with the Georgia SHPO, the Cobb County Department of Transportation, the Corps, and the Council to broaden support for rerouting and redesigning the proposed roadway. County officials were initially hostile to the Section 106 consultation process; nevertheless, they were convinced that a greater public good was served by a different alignment, one that avoided significant historic resources and provided disincentives to the commercialization of the historic district.

Federal Office Building construction, Atlanta, Georgia, General Services Administration (GSA), 1993. Congress directed GSA to construct a Federal office building on two blocks in downtown Atlanta, the location of the historic Rich's Department Store, an Atlanta landmark that had stood vacant for some years. The Rich's complex consisted of a campus of interconnected buildings in various styles eligible for the National Register not only for their architectural significance but also for their importance to Atlanta's social history, specifically the modern Civil Rights Movement. Through Section 106 consultation, consulting parties agreed to preserve and restore that portion of the local landmark that the public associated with the retailer; they also agreed to thoroughly document the association of the store with the history of the struggle for civil rights. Although many found this solution far from ideal, the Section 106 consultation process facilitated the careful examination of alternatives. As a result, part of Atlanta's historic landscape has been retained and the local economy has been reinvigorated by keeping a significant Federal workforce in the city's downtown.

Olympic Equestrian Center construction, Conyers, Georgia, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1994. To prepare for equestrian events at the upcoming 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, the City of Conyers undertook to develop the Georgia International Horse Park. Construction came to a halt, however, when the Corps learned that the city was conducting archeological data recovery at the site without first permitting the Corps to complete the Section 106 process. The Council acted within days to resolve the problem, issuing comments that recognized the city's well-intentioned mistake and urged the Corps to revoke permit suspensions. Construction recommenced within the day. The city subsequently completed archeological work on what is now recognized as an extremely important archeological site and is using the site as a centerpiece for interpretation for Olympics visitors.

Regional Development Center construction, Camilla, Georgia, Farmers Home Administration (FmHA), 1994. FmHA proposed to assist the regional development authority with the construction of a new office facility, an undertaking that would have required demolition of an entire block of a small commercial historic district. The dense commercial character would have been replaced with a suburban-style office structure, set back from the street amidst a landscape of green space and black asphalt. Working with the Georgia SHPO, the Council convinced the city to reduce the demolition necessary by eliminating the suburban setting and creating a building to complement the historic district's commercial storefronts. This required demolition of only two under-utilized non-historic structures within the district. The Georgia SHPO has continued to provide technical assistance for the rehabilitation of existing structures, and the project is now enjoying new local interest and support.

U.S. 27/68 (Paris Pike) improvements, Fayette and Bourbon Counties, Kentucky, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 1991. For over 25 years, plans to widen this 12-mile segment of U.S. 27/68 were at an impasse due to widespread community opposition and extensive litigation, among other factors. Located within the heart of Kentucky's Bluegrass region, the highway is the backbone of the 11,000-acre Paris Pike Historic District. As part of the Section 106 consultation process, FHWA agreed to partially fund an independent analysis of the proposed project by a local nonprofit. The study prompted the community to acknowledge that the selection of alternate corridors for highway improvement was not viable and that onsite improvements were the only option. Following this finding, a Memorandum of Agreement was developed that laid out a comprehensive approach to design and planning and created a citizens' task force to oversee design development.

Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway barge-loading facility construction, Columbus, Mississippi, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1987. The Corps faced issuing a permit under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act for construction and expansion of a barge loading facility on the Mississippi side of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway which runs between Mississippi and Alabama. The Council and the Mississippi SHPO worked closely with the Corps, the permit applicant, and the owner of Waverly Plantation, a National Historic Landmark adjacent to the project site, to consider and address increased noise and traffic associated with and resulting from the planned construction, as well as the cumulative effects of this permit action with other pending permits for waterway development. The resulting agreement emphasized local consideration of necessary zoning changes and other land use oversight, while at the same time providing for the kind of economic development that had originally justified the waterway's construction.

Federal Corrections Facility construction, Butner, North Carolina, Federal Bureau of Prisons, 1993. The impact of a new Federal corrections facility on neighboring historic farmsteads was central to this particular Section 106 case. Issues concerning the Freedom of Information Act and confidentiality of key documentation, i.e., construction plans, dominated the consultation in the early stages; nevertheless, the Council successfully argued that exterior design plans should not be withheld from the public and were, in fact, necessary to gauge effects. An agreement was successfully negotiated that allowed for phased construction and provided design guidelines which minimized visual impacts to the satisfaction of neighboring property owners. At Council urging, the agreement established maximum height standards. A citizen lawsuit was avoided and the process of overcoming citizens' objections through post-agreement review was facilitated.

Franklin County Airport construction, North Carolina, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), 1988. Franklin County's plans to develop a regional airport with FAA assistance would have adversely affected adjoining Cascine Plantation, a 1500-acre farm that had changed little since the early 19th century. Planners and consultants under Section 106 were presented with a number of formidable challenges, especially audible and visual intrusions on the pristine rural setting. The county rejected attempts by the Council and the North Carolina SHPO to argue for an alternative site, a plan supported by many local citizens. Ultimately, a compromise was reached for the county's preferred site which limited future airport expansion, restricted runway placement, and established a 500-foot buffer between the airport site and the plantation.

Cuartel de Ballaja rehabilitation, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Department of Education, 1992. In Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, local citizens requested Council review of rehabilitation work being undertaken by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico on the Cuartel de Ballaja, a prominent historic building located in the Old San Juan NHL district. The rehabilitation work was part of the Columbian 500th Anniversary redevelopment of central Old San Juan in which the National Park Service played a major role. However, the building, originally a 19th-century Spanish-style military barracks that became U.S. Army property, had been transferred to the Commonwealth for use as a "historic monument" at a nominal cost under the provisions of the Federal Property and Administration Services Act of 1949. This transfer, made through the Department of Education, was tied to National Park Service oversight and approval of any program and plan for reusing the building and was dependent on any modificiations and future use being consistent with its historic character. The Council worked cooperatively with numerous parties, including the Department of Justice, the Department of Education, the National Park Service, the SHPO and the Commonwealth to ensure that the work was done to professional preservation standards. Ultimately, the Cuartel was rehabilitated to the satisfaction of all parties for mixed public-private use, including a planned museum of Puerto Rican history and culture. It will assist the revitalization of a long-neglected portion of Old San Juan.

Hurricane Hugo disaster relief, South Carolina, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 1989. Although it was not the only State affected by Hurricane Hugo, South Carolina faced recovery efforts involving the repair of damage to hundreds of historic properties, many of which were located in historic Charleston or adjacent counties. The Council, the South Carolina SHPO, and FEMA established an expedited review process to deal quickly and efficiently with review of individual projects.

Robert Mills Manor Housing Complex rehabilitation, Charleston, South Carolina, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), 1988. HUD proposed to rehabilitate Robert Mills Manor, a historic public housing complex dating from 1938 that incorporated buildings built in the 1840s. However, in order to meet the needs of families residing in the complex, selected demolition and creation of parking, recreation, open space, and playground areas was proposed. Through Section 106 review, modernization work that met the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation was accomplished to the degree that it was reasonable to do so, and needed changes were accommodated.

Franklin Post Office disposal, Franklin, Tennessee, U.S. Postal Service (USPS), 1993. The Franklin Post Office case involved reconciling diametrically opposing views concerning the proper disposition of this USPS property, deemed one of the Nation's "Eleven Most Endangered" historic properties by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The pressure brought to bear as the result of this designation came very close to alienating the USPS and preventing its cooperation. Mediation in this case meant keeping USPS at the table by counterbalancing the resulting negative publicity. By inviting USPS officials to speak at the Council's session at the Southeast SHPO conference in Nashville, Tennessee, and working to promote understanding among preservationists and SHPOs, the Council encouraged both USPS and National Trust regional representatives to view the retention of postal functions in downtown Franklin as a Postal Service achievement and, under the circumstances, a stunning one.

Charlotte Amalie flood control, U.S. Virgin Islands, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1987. The Corps planned to install flood control measures along the Savan Gut, a natural gully that had been modified by the local community beginning in the late 18th century. A key feature of the Charlotte Amalie Historic District, the "gut" includes a series of pedestrian stairways up the steep hillside, as well as channels and retaining walls to handle rain runoff. These features have been constructed since 1765 when the Danish originally developed the surrounding planned residential area for freed slaves. Adjoining residences, one dating to 1836, would also be affected by the Corps' project. The resulting agreement, which incorporated substantial input from local community organizations and residents, minimized alteration of historic features and removal of residences. It also included provisions to record historic engineering features and conduct archeological work along portions of the gut that contained artifacts from the freed slave community.

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