RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Richmond's newest historic district is taking steps to make sure the designation doesn't drive people from the neighborhood. Union Hill has created a fund to assist the poor, elderly, and disabled with work on their homes.
Richmond's Union Hill is filled with homes from before the turn of the century. But it also lost 29 of them in the last year to demolition. A third of the land area in Union Hill is now vacant.
"We want to stop the demolition of historic housing stock," said Mike Conrad, Union Hill Civic Association President.
And to do so, Conrad helped the city council vote to turn Union Hill into an old and historic district.
"It means that you preserve the historic integrity of the neighborhood and its basic character. You stop the demolition of historic housing stock. And you ensure that new buildings are compatible with existing housing," Conrad said.
Most new construction plans and changes to homes now have to be approved by a city commission.
"It doesn't mean everybody has to do something to their house this very instant. Actually it means the opposite. Nobody has to do anything unless they make a significant change on the exterior of their house," said David Herring, Alliance Conserve Old Richmond Neighborhoods.
But some worry the designation will be a hassle and too costly for their elderly or disabled neighbors. Which is why Conrad helped to create a fund to aid people if they run into financial trouble.
"The fund is just our way of showing that we not only care about history and houses. That we care about people as well. People first in fact," said Conrad.
For more information on Union Hill's home fund or to make a tax deductible donation log, click here.