From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
August 20, 1997
Contact: Rick Svataro, (512) 463-0113

Legislation to Protect Historic Structures, Spur Urban Revitalization Takes Effect

AUSTIN, Tx. -- Legislation by State Senator Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and State Representative Kyle Janek (R-Houston) to protect historic structures and spur urban revitalization was signed by Governor George W. Bush today at a ceremony at the State Capitol in Austin. Senate Bill 1310 gives municipalities a tool for financing the renovation and redevelopment of condemned historic structures.

"This new law will give the City of Houston an important tool to restore and renovate condemned historic structures," said Senator Ellis. "Rebuilding these structures will help spur urban revitalization and create new opportunity in the inner city."

Ellis said the law will allow municipalities to use Certificates of Obligation to restore condemned historic structures that would otherwise be torn down. The law also allows the City of Houston to designate additional structures as historic. According to Ellis, the preservation and redevelopment of historic structures has been an effective economic development strategy, increasing tourism and job creation in communities across Texas. Currently, there are 168 historic structures within five historic districts in Houston.

Houston City Controller Lloyd Kelley, who helped develop the legislation, said the new law will help revitalize downtown Houston.

"Previous to the passage of this law, Certificates of Obligation issued by the City of Houston could only be used to destroy buildings," Kelley said. "Now this money can be used to rehabilitate structures with historic value. Over time this bill will help with revitalization efforts in Houston, including those downtown."

The law takes effect September 1, 1997.