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Texas Historical Commission

The Texas Historical Commission is sending experts around to assess damage done to historic structures by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. They’re hoping to keep old homes and buildings from being demolished in the rush to rebuild. Several teams of Texas Historical Commission experts spent last week in east and southeast Texas counties with a lot […]

The Texas Historical Commission is sending experts around to assess damage done to historic structures by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. They’re hoping to keep old homes and buildings from being demolished in the rush to rebuild.

Several teams of Texas Historical Commission experts spent last week in east and southeast Texas counties with a lot of 19th century homes and buildings and a lot of storm damage. Historical Commission spokeswoman Debbi Head says this is standard procedure after natural disasters.

Head says they know they’re walking a fine line in situations like this. Communities with storm damage want to repair and rebuild, but that often means tearing down and clearing old buildings damaged beyond repair. The Historical Commission wants to save what can be saved, and those goals sometimes work against each other.

Head says it’s always worthwhile to repair and preserve damaged historic structures because they’re often important to a town’s local economy from a tourism standpoint. The Historical Commission is also sending a team of architects to Mississippi, to help that state’s experts in assessing damage to historic sites.

Head says communities that use federal funds to clean up after a disaster are required to assess the disaster’s impact on historic properties. Under those circumstances, FEMA and the state Division of Emergency Management will consult with the Historical Commission to make sure historic resources are protected.

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