Cleveland Laborers’ Local 860 Wins Coveted National Preservation Award for Historic Rehabilitation of Its 19th Century Mansion

October 19, 2009

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ — The National Trust for Historic Preservation, at its annual conference in Nashville last week, presented the prestigious National Preservation Honor Award to Laborers’ Local 860 of Cleveland for restoring a 19th century mansion, Southworth House, into union headquarters.

Local 860 is the first union in America to receive the coveted award, and the mansion, on Prospect Avenue on the eastern edge of downtown, is only the fifth structure in Northeast Ohio selected for a Preservation Honor Award. The others are Severance Hall, home of the Cleveland Orchestra; the Old Arcade, a glass-enclosed downtown shopping center built in 1890; restored 1920s theaters on Playhouse Square downtown, and the former Notre Dame Academy on the city’s east side.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has bestowed its awards annually since 1981. This year Local 860 joined 15 other sites, organizations, and individuals across America, chosen from more than 130 nominations by a national jury, for the Preservation Honor Award.

Scores of union laborers, working from a design by Cleveland restoration architect Scott Dimit, spent over 18 months from 2007 to 2008 rehabilitating the mansion, built in 1879 by William Palmer Southworth, an early president of National City Bank. Over the years, the home was used as multi-tenant office space and even as a fraternity house. Workers removed decades of clumsy alterations and restored as much of the building’s original character as possible.

Almost 130 years later, William Southworth’s own bank, National City, partnered with Local 860 to obtain tax credits that resulted in significant savings for the $2.8-million project.

“What a success story,” says Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “The rehabilitation of Southworth created jobs and had spurred new interest in additional local preservation projects, while demonstrating there’s no building that’s more sustainable than a historic building given new life.”

“We are flattered by this prestigious award,” adds Anthony D. Liberatore, Jr., business manager of Laborers’ Local 860. “The cost for preserving this magnificent building was funded by prudent investment returns and was far less than a new headquarters. We also wanted to preserve an important part of Cleveland history while making use of this grand mansion for the benefit of our union and community.”

“The renewal of Southworth House is stunning,” says Kathleen H. Crowther, executive director of the Cleveland Restoration Society, who nominated Local 860 for the National Trust Award. “It sets the standard for adaptive office space in a large historic home. The project is a showcase for craftsmanship and, of course, economic development.”

Laborers Local 860 has served the highway and utilities construction trades in Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties since 1937. With 2,200 members and retirees, the local is part of the Laborers International Union of North America. Its former offices were nearby on Prospect Avenue.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation provides leadership, education, advocacy, and resources to a national network of people, organizations, and local communities committed to saving places, connecting us to our history, and collectively shaping the future of America’s stories. For more information visit www.preservationNation.org.

SOURCE Labors Local 860

Source: newswire

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