City of Rochester
(Friday, Feb. 3, 2012) – Mayor Thomas S. Richards announced today that the City has entered into a new partnership with North East Area Development Inc. (NEAD) to advance the concept of building deconstruction in the Beechwood Neighborhood. NEAD obtained a $42,000 grant last week from the New York State Department of Conservation (NYSDEC) to engage teenaged city students in a research project to examine the benefits of building deconstruction and the environmental hazards of building deterioration and demolition.
“Vacant and abandoned buildings plague many Rochester neighborhoods,” said Mayor Thomas S. Richards. “These could be a source of materials and jobs. Most of the materials from our demolitions wind up in landfills and it seems wasteful to throw it all away. Deconstruction has the potential to put people to work right in their own neighborhoods.”
Deconstruction is an environmentally friendly process that essentially reverses the building process as an alternative to knocking a structure down and disposing of the materials. Lumber, nails, and other materials are saved while caring for the location of the site. After deconstruction, the top layer of soil is stripped from the ground and replaced with soil that can sustain plant life or provide a sound foundation for future construction.
The ultimate goal of the project is to identify ways to reduce environmental hazards, limit dumping in landfills and create jobs in deconstruction, materials processing and new construction.
NEAD will help select a City-owned building in the Beechwood neighborhood for deconstruction. The City will provide the building and information related to the City’s demolition program. Students will be selected from the City’s Department of Recreation and Youth Services’ Rochester Explorer Youth Engagement program and will be residents of the Beechwood Neighborhood. Rochester Explorers is a two-year civic engagement, job readiness, career exploration and college preparation program.
The project is focused equally on education as is it on research. Students will create a documentary to tell their story. Technicians at RCTV-15 will engage the students in conducting interviews, operating cameras, writing narratives and editing videotape.
Rochester Greenovation—a local non-profit organization dedicated to building material re-use—will conduct and manage the actual deconstruction and supervise the students on the site. The Center for Environmental Information will assist the students with their research and in the preparation of reporting their results to the NYSDEC. Students will visit a landfill, take part in a deconstruction project, produce a documentary video on the environmental hazards associated with abandoned buildings and demolition, determine the benefits of deconstruction and propose ways to create a market for deconstruction materials.
The grant was one of 24 awarded by the NYSDEC. The grants were distributed as part of the Environmental Justice Grants program, which helps communities understand and mitigate environmental harms or risks to improve quality of life.
News Media: For more information, call Peter Siegrist, City Preservation Planner at 428-7238.