Below is a roundup of Illinois preservation news stories for the month of April 2019 and updates on some of Landmarks Illinois’ major advocacy efforts. You can also receive these monthly news roundups directly in your inbox by signing up for our newsletters at the bottom of the page.
ADVOCACY ALERT! NPS proposes rule changes for National Register
The National Park Service has proposed rule changes that would substantially impact how historic resources are nominated to, and determined eligible for, the National Register of Historic Places.
Like many preservation organizations around the country, Landmarks Illinois is deeply concerned with the potential negative outcomes the rule changes would have on how our historic places are preserved and protected.
We are asking our members & supporters to submit comments to the NPS on these proposed changes by the deadline of April 30, 2019.
Two primary proposed changes of concern are:
- Allowing federal agencies to have final say whether their buildings qualify for listing in the National Register, rather than the professional staff of state historic preservation offices and the National Park Service.
- Allowing large property owners to be given an outweighed ability to block historic district nominations by counting the majority of the land area in lieu of the current counting of one private owner, one vote.
Learn more at Preservation Action & see a sample letter to the NPS explaining how the rule changes could impact your community. Including local examples of how this rule may have impacted, or will impact, local preservation efforts is most effective. Please send a copy of your comments to both your U.S. senator and U.S. representative.
Action Alert: Comment on Proposed Rule Changes to National Register of Historic Places Nominations
National Trust for Historic Preservation
Proposed Rule Changes Threaten National Register of Historic Places Nominations
National Alliance of Preservation Commissions
Rockford City Council delays vote on landmark status for Chancery & other Diocese-owned properties
Rockford City Council’s Code and Regulation Committee decided to delay a decision returned to the Committee on local landmark status for Rockford Diocese-owned buildings, including the Chancery. The committee said it “still needs more time to potentially come up with a compromise with the Catholic Diocese of Rockford,” according to reports.
Lisa DiChiera, LI’s Director of Advocacy, attended the council meeting and spoke in support of local landmark designation as well as the need to protect viable historic buildings that should have the opportunity to be reused. The only plan the Diocese has stated it has for the properties are surface parking lots. Lisa was interviewed by WIFR News following the meeting.
“We believe that these buildings are viable,” Lisa told WIFR News. “They have the ability to be reused and demolishing them would leave a significant hole in the Signal Hill Neighborhood. There’s a lot of places throughout the state where religious properties have been sold that are vacant and put back into viable commercial and residential use. There’s no reason why that should not be possible here in Rockford.”
See the full interview here. You can also follow local advocacy group, Fighting for the Chancery, on Facebook @savepietyhill, for more information.
Read more in the news:
Letter: Chancery, school, convent should have landmark designation
Landmarks Illinois Letter to the Editor
Rockford Register Star, April 12
Landmark request for Rockford Diocese buildings may spark lawsuit
Rockford Register Star, April 1
LI's Rock Island Courthouse Lawsuit Update
On April 12, Landmarks Illinois posted the bond required by the court to proceed with its lawsuit in Rock Island to stop the unlawful demolition of the county’s historic courthouse. The bond payment follows the appeal LI and fellow lawsuit plaintiffs filed in March after the court dismissed the case.
Listen to Frank Butterfield, Director of LI’s Springfield Office, discuss the lawsuit and ongoing advocacy efforts to save the Rock Island Courthouse in an interview on WOC Radio:
Read more in the news:
Courthouse roof still open to the rain; trees marked for removal
Dispatch-Argus, April 23
Construction crews board up Rock Island County Courthouse
WHBF, April 22
Letter: Save beautiful and historic courthouse
Dispatch Argus, April 19
Courthouse roof has holes from asbestos removal
Dispatch Argus, April 11
Landmarks Illinois will post bond for courthouse
Dispatch Argus, April 4
Thompson Center possible sale progresses in Springfield
In early April, Gov. J.B. Pritkzer signed legislation that would allow for the sale of the James R. Thompson Center, a building Landmarks Illinois has called attention to for years, including it on our 2017 & 2018 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois.
Landmarks Illinois only supports a sale if it includes reuse of this irreplaceable building, which remains Chicago’s best example of grandly-scaled, Postmodern architecture. LI also released reused renderings last year in coordination with architect Helmut Jahn that shows one way the existing building could be retained as part of a redevelopment.
Landmarks Illinois also signed on to a letter supporting landmarking the Thompson Center. See the letter here.