Wednesday, May 19, 2010

City Manager Stresses Preservation at Awards Event

Roanoke City manager Chris Morrill talks to the Preservation Foundation tonight.^

Crowd listens as awards are presented.^

View from inside the Anstey Hodge Agency, a preservation award winner for renovating an old filling station.^

George Kegley presents the Golden Bulldozer Award (on the podium) to Greene Memorial United Methodist Church.^

Award winners Mark (left) and John Garland (right) chatted with Pete Larkin and former State Senator Granger Macfarlane. Foundation President Mike Kennedy talks (below).^

Story and Photos by DAN SMITH

New Roanoke City Manager Chris Morrill, who left a job in Savannah, Ga., Ground Zero for Southern preservation efforts in recent years, told a crowd of Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation members tonight that "preservation does not have to be old and stodgy. It can be cool and sexy, like this building."

He was referring to one of the foundation's award winners (the entire list is here), the Ansty Hodge advertising agency, which is now housed in a renovated filling station, where the ceremony was held. Morrill called the renovation of old buildings "the highest form of recycling" and suggested that "we must change the national dialogue about what preservation is."

Morrill offered several recommendations to help accomplish foundation goals for preserving as much of Roanoke's history as possible. "You have to concentrate on your circle of influence, rather than your circle of concern," he said, quoting Stephen Covey. "Do what you can do and grow it. Promote preservation as an economic development tool. Organizations like yours should pick manageable projects that can be done; look for a revolving fund" and finish them.

Most important, he says, "is to remain optimistic."

The Preservation Awards event helps highlight some of the contributions important renovation projects and individuals have made in the Roanoke Valley during the past year. Those awards, says the foundation's George Kegley, help focus on what can and should be done to save some of the area's diminishing resources.

(Dan Smith is a member of the Preservation Foundation board of directors.)

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