By Eric Pilgrim | Fort Knox NewsSeptember 26, 2019
Knox Hills officials are encouraging residents living in historic homes on Fort Knox to be patient when issues surface that require repairs or renovation work.
The reason: many cultural preservation considerations must be taken into consideration.
"There's a lot of people who get involved," said John Bredehoeft, Lendlease project director for Knox Hills and its sister project, Campbell Crossing, at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Bredehoeft explained that Lendlease has a cultural resources official who works with installation historic preservation specialists to determine any issues surrounding maintenance and renovation projects. Knox Hills officials also keep the Kentucky Heritage Council's State Historic Preservation Office informed.
Once approved, Knox Hills then must find suitable materials that meet historic guidelines if materials need to be replaced.
"We deal a lot with the State Historic Preservation officers," said Bredehoeft.
Because of the extended amount of time required to repair and renovate historic homes that run the risk of affecting the homes' cultural integrity, historic experts at Fort Knox have established two programmatic agreements with state preservation officers and Knox Hills. One agreement pertains to Army lodging, the other to housing.
"It streamlines the process of complying with the National Historic Preservation Act," said Dr. Criss Helmkamp, Fort Knox cultural resources manager, and one of two members responsible for historic preservation on post. "It gives us a little more latitude in what we can do and a lot more latitude to execute quickly, leaving more to our professional judgment."
Helmkamp used lead-based paint abatement as an example.
"We wanted to get it done, and get it done now. Well, if we had to go to the state, we'd have to prepare documents, send it to them; they'd have 30 days to review that and send back their comments," said Helmkamp. "We didn't know at the outset of that what the scale of the project was, so it probably would have been a series of consultations that would have taken a couple of months at least.
"That's the biggest advantage to having that agreement."
Helmkamp explained that his office files a report at the end of each year, detailing what they accomplished. If the state then feels that his office is taking too much leeway in how they are getting renovation and repair projects done, they can insist on going through them for future projects.
"They've never done that," said Helmkamp.
Bredehoeft said preserving and maintaining historic homes will continue to be a necessary part of their commitment to the Army.
"It's a challenge, but we all recognize the value of it," said Bredehoeft. "There's a certain prestige that comes with having some of those historic homes and as big as the Army is into tradition and honoring the past, it makes sense that we take care of these."
At the forefront of ensuring the homes are maintained accurately is teamwork, according to him.
"The partnership between Knox Hills and the SHPOs, and the Army and DPW and everybody else is aimed at doing that," Bredehoeft said. "We're committed to doing our best to honor the past that these houses represent."