July 25, 2007

Volunteers needed to inventory Cairo property

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Dozens of Cairo residents responded to the first call for help with an urban design and community improvement project initiated by Southern Illinois University Carbondale's "Preservation Summer", the Cairo Rotary Club and the Southernmost Illinois Delta Empowerment Zone. Now, a second call for community assistance asks volunteers to meet at 5:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 31, at the First Presbyterian Church, 1708 Washington St.

The meeting's focus is property inventory training. Working in teams of four-five people, volunteers will use maps to mark and photograph structures and land parcels. They'll learn the inventory process by making records of property near the church. In coming months, volunteers will conduct a complete inventory of Cairo's vacant lots and structures. The inventory will provide the groundwork for community revitalization and redevelopment efforts in the city.

The SIUC School of Architecture and Department of History sponsor "Preservation Summer". The Cairo urban studio effort is in conjunction with a multi-year project that will also involve the fall SIUC Urban Studies Class. The Rotary Club and empowerment zone are also critical in making the project a success, said Robert Swenson, associate professor and architect from the School of Architecture.

For more information about the project or the meeting, contact Effie Harrell via e-mail at eharrell@siu.edu or Swenson at rswenson@siu.edu or by calling him at 618/453-4772.