“The Tennessee Preservation Trust is the national affiliate of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. There are 12 members and a director who works with regional development and MainStreet organizations,” Vital explained.
Vital said preservation “makes sense.”
“There are big challenges to make sure demolition or neglect doesn’t occur. We rally people for the cause of preservation of these buildings to prevent that neglect,” Vital said.
Neglect can lead to demolition of historic structures when they fall into disrepair and costs mount as well as updated building codes may cause costs to rise and dismay possible stewards of preservation projects.
“I have a place in my heart for history and historical preservation,” Vital said.
Vital purchased the Ochs (Dome) building in downtown Chattanooga in 2002.
“That sparked several other preservation efforts around the area,” Vital explained.
Vital’s investors also bought the old Tennessee Valley Authority building known as “the Custom’s House,” renovated it and leased it to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
“There is economic value in older buildings,” he said.
Vital owns five buildings which are on the National Historic Registry. One which has been sold to a private investor is the Cummings House. Its distinction is that Will Cummings aided in building the highway system and president Franklin D. Roosevelt spent time there.
New MainStreet president will be Kathy Rohsenberger, vice president Joe Burton, treasurer Gary Farlow and secretary Dwight Richardson. Keith Barrett and Nancy Casson will begin a three-year board term. Sheehy handed over the gavel to the new president and then adjourned the session.