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Daily Newscasts

WYO Job Creation: What’s Old Can Become New Again

March 1, 2010

CASPER, Wyo. - Job creation has been a big topic of this year's legislative budget session. Gov. Dave Freudenthal has been talking about how new construction projects could put people to work. However, renovating existing buildings could accomplish that, too - and do it even better, according to a local historic preservation expert.

Mary Humstone is former assistant director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She says plenty of research shows that restoring older structures creates about 20 percent more jobs than new construction projects.

"We should be aware of the economics behind historic preservation. And if we're talking about jobs, we shouldn't only be talking about new construction."

In the Northeast and in areas of the South, renovation is a popular investment for its economic benefits, Humstone says, as well as for providing environmental and cultural values.

"This is something that can be done - other states do it. There are hundreds of case studies from around the country - really beautiful examples of renovation."

Now vice president of the Alliance for Historic Wyoming, Humstone points out that Wyoming has several renovation projects worthy of funding, including Natrona County High School in Casper.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - WY