Thursday, January 22, 2015

Cheaper to preserve old barns as businesses or tourist attractions than to build a new barn

Repairing an old barn or preserving its historic value by altering it into a business or tourist attraction is often more cost effective than tearing it down and building another one, said Steve Stier, former president of the Michigan Barn Preservation Network, Juliana Moxley reports for Great Lakes Echo, a service of the Center for Environmental Journalism at Michigan State University. (Echo photo by Cindi Van Hurk: A sunflower quilt block outside Harrisville, Mich.)

Stier said the cost of legally disposing of a farm can be steep and older barns are most likely taxed at lower rates than newer ones, Moxley writes. And because traditional barns were used for storage and shelter, they are sturdy and easily adaptable because they've been used as churches, restaurants, furniture stores, wineries and event spaces.

Another fad is turning old barns into quilt trails, "where painted wooden squares are displayed on a series of barns as a tourist attraction," Moxley writes. "Many barn quilt trails in Michigan attract tourists who buy gas, food and lodging, Stier said." There are at least 13 quilt trails in Michigan, where hand-painted designs on wood are displayed on nearly 30 barns and other buildings on the trail. (Read more)

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