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Home News Agreement Signed to Speed Grants to Historic Properties Near World Trade Center Site
Agreement Signed to Speed Grants to Historic Properties Near World Trade Center Site
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2002, Washington, DCAn interagency agreement signed today by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the New York State Historic Preservation Officer (NYSHPO), and others will expedite Federal rehabilitation grants to historic properties damaged last September 11, near the New York City World Trade Center site, without compromising emergency recovery efforts.
"At this time in our history, it is critical to protect significant historic properties and preserve them as a living part of our communities," said John L. Nau, III, ACHP chairman. "These historic properties provide a sense of orientation for all Americans."
When the President declares a disaster area, historic preservation issues naturally assume a subordinate role to life and safety concerns. Soon after the events of September 11, however, the staff of the NYSHPO identified all historic properties within the affected area of lower Manhattan in preparation for their future repair. The 1905 West Street Building, designed by Cass Gilbert, is just one of the 51 historic properties identified in the NYSHPO survey.
Cass Gilbertís West Street Building (1905), severely damaged when the World Trade Center collapsed in New York City, is a National Register-eligible property identified by the SHPO in a survey of historic properties in the vicinity of the recovery effort (photo courtesy of New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission)
ACHP leads the Nation's historic preservation program and oversees the Section 106 administrative process to ensure that Federal activities do not inadvertently damage historic properties.
The agreement signed today anticipates the next steps in returning normalcy to the World Trade Center area. Under the agreement, historic properties receiving FEMA grants will be reviewed expeditiously by the NYSHPO for their impact on the historic preservation of the property. As part of this agreement, ACHP will remove itself from the review process and allow the NYSHPO to take the lead. FEMA has agreed to work within unusually compressed timeframes to ensure that grant money directed to historic properties will enforce their unique historic attributes.
This unprecedented intergovernmental cooperation created an environment where competing priorities were weighed and assessed and responsible decisions were made to satisfy all affected parties.
ACHP, an independent Federal agency, serves as primary policy advisor to the President and Congress on historic preservation matters and oversees an administrative review process that requires Federal agencies to consider historic properties when planning projects. ACHP is headquartered in Washington, DC, with an office near Denver, Colorado.