Institutional Development for the Preservation through Re-use of Historic Buildings in Slovak Republic
The project is intended to institutionalize the various parties involved in preservation of cultural heritage, to improve the performance of the sector of heritage preservation. This means that the recipient - Foundation will organize concerned owners of dilapidated buildings, potentially interested users from the private and public sector, support institutions (reg. financial support for heritage, for training development, for awareness raising, etc.). The institutional development activities should lead to more support for and better preservation and use of historic buildings, which contributes to cultural values and to tourism.
Because of 40 years of socialist rule and the difficulties of transition, many buildings with substantial cultural value, fall prey to dilapidation. There are probably tens of thousands of such buildings throughout the country. Typically, (private) owners of buildings which have been returned during the last years, lack the entrepreneurial and technical skills and access to finance required for the difficult process of putting historic buildings to current use. Current use means that while the cultural values of the building can be maintained as much as possible, the management of the building generates sufficient revenues for proper upkeep. Typically too, such buildings had a public or semi-public function. By and large, preserving this public function should contribute to finding solutions for the preservation.
As yet, there are no institutions in Slovak Republic - neither private nor public - which can manage the process of converting dilapidated buildings to viable use. In Western European countries with a rich cultural heritage, this is a thriving institutional sector, with users, architects, sponsors, cultural institutions, etc., organized. In the Slovak Republic, the situation is presently in a stalemate: owners (private individual owners, churches, organizations), cannot conceive a solution for their property. They lack the investments required, and the skills to identify new uses or new owners. Local governments are by and large inactive in this field; moreover, due to financial insecurity, they concentrate on disposal of their own municipal assets. Real estate agents are not active in this sector, they concentrate on direct transfers between sellers and buyers and stay away from "difficult buildings". Thus potential new users, the parties interested in a building with a cultural value have nowhere to go.
Potential benefactors and private sector sponsors also lack an institutional solution for channelling funding and getting promotional payoffs.
There is no effective national or local policy in the field of preserving cultural heritage. Individual public and private organizations work to maintain their assets, but there is no support outside the legal framework of monument care in the form of fiscal or subsidy instruments.
The Foundation for Cultural Heritage Preservation has the technical background for assessing historic values, has a good network implementing organizations' knowledge of and involvement in subject matters (including contacts with local governments and benefactors) but cannot function as an intermediary institution between ownership, potential use, public regulation and finance. The Foundation requires management support for setting up such institutional development. The Foundation will strengthen its own position in the Slovak Republic if this project is successfully carried out .
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