Kathleen Crowther joined Cleveland Restoration Society as its president in 1987. In the 12 years prior to her arrival, CRS had been primarily a volunteer-run organization. In 1986, the annual budget of CRS was $3,500.
During the course of 25 years with Crowther at the helm, CRS has grown into a vibrant organization with an operating budget of $1 million, an engaged board of trustees, a restored Victorian home as its headquarters and a full-time staff of nine.
CRS offers historic preservation programs and expertise throughout Greater Cleveland. One such program is the Heritage Home Program initiated by Crowther in 1992 in three Cleveland neighborhoods. The Heritage Home Program was designed to enable homeowners of 50-year-old houses or older to make historically and architecturally sensitive repairs to their homes. CRS preservation experts visit the homes and advise homeowners about appropriate restoration and preservation techniques.
A second aspect of the program is a low-interest loan that homeowners can apply for to use toward the renovation efforts of their homes. Throughout the years, the Heritage Home Program has been a big success and has expanded into other areas of Ohio.
Crowther is exploring partnerships with preservation organizations in other parts of Ohio such as Columbus to offer the program in new areas while still utilizing the experience of CRS.
Since its inception, the program has provided technical advice to more than 4,200 homeowners relating to restoration projects that total more than $90 million. In addition, the program has resulted in $33 million of low-interest Heritage Home loans to more than 900 homeowners. The program has been instrumental in stabilizing and strengthening certain neighborhoods in Cleveland.
How to Reach: Cleveland Restoration Society, (216) 426-1000 or www.clevelandrestoration.org