April is Fair Housing Month
The Fair Housing Act (FHA) became law in April 1968, as Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (CRA). President Johnson made it official on April 11, one week after the assassination of civil rights icon Martin Luther King, Jr., who fought for equality in housing.
The FHA was considered landmark legislation, prohibiting many types of discriminatory acts regarding the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, color, religion, and national origin. The FHA has since been amended to add sex, disability, and familial status to the list of protected classes, as well as to strengthen the law’s enforcement mechanism.
Since 1968, April has come to be regarded as a time to remember the FHA and reflect on the rights it gives citizens. April 2010 marks the forty-second anniversary of the enactment of this important act and in recognition and observance of this event Governor Manchin has proclaimed April as Fair Housing Month in West Virginia. Implementation of the Fair Housing Policy of West Virginia requires positive commitment, involvement and support of each and every one of our citizens.
To learn more about Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for all visit the US Department of Housing and Urban Development or download these brochures about fair housing and how to recognize housing discrimination.
THE ROXY THEATER
A CASE STUDY OF SMALL TOWN CULTURAL REVITALIZATION
As part of our continuing work in the Town of Clendenin, TEA is assisting its client, 25045-A New Clendenin (ANC) in restoring the Roxy Theater, a once beloved community asset. The Roxy Theater is located in the heart of Clendenin’s historic district in northern Kanawha County. For many years it was the entertainment “hub” for people who lived in not only Clendenin, but in southern Roane and Clay counties. As the years passed, the property owner could not afford to make the renovations necessary to keep the building in operations. It closed five years ago. In March, 2009, the owner donated the building to Clendenin’s nonprofit community revitalization group, 25045-A New Clendenin, Inc. It is our client’s intention to renovate the building for use as a local community arts center that will be a venue for a variety of local and regional theatrical, music, dance and film productions, as well as a community venue for workshops, trainings, and seminars.
The building is in need of a complete and total renovation. Everything from the roof, mechanical and electrical systems, plumbing, stage, seating and flooring will be replaced. The façade will be restored to its original art deco design, and new furnishings and theater equipment will be installed. TEA led the process of selecting an architect for the project, and through a competitive bid procedure, Paul D. Marshall Architects and Engineers was selected to design the restoration.
As a first step in stabilizing the building, it was determined that the roof must be replaced. TEA prepared a development grant application to the State Historic Preservation Office and the project was awarded a $61,000 grant. The roof restoration is in process now. Total restoration expenses are estimated at $600,000 and TEA will be working aggressively with its client to secure grants and donations to complete the project.
Restoration of the theater has prompted our client to engage the community in a process to plan for activities and events that will not only showcase local and regional culture, but will engage people of all ages and walks of life. TEA is facilitating the development of a long range plan that leverages regional resources such as Charleston area arts organizations with local artists. The theater is the focal point for staging events, but the enthusiasm for promoting the arts is spilling over into discussions about how businesses and public facilities can be a venue for cultural events.
The Roxy and the Clendenin Middle School (referenced in previous articles), are buildings in transition, and symbolic of Clendenin’s community spirit and desire to brush off its treasured assets and use them as a springboard to the future. TEA is proud to be leading the technical efforts on these exciting projects!