Durham County

Preservation Durham director stepping down to help with pie shop

Ben Filippo is leaving Preservation Durham to help open East Durham Pie Company.
Ben Filippo is leaving Preservation Durham to help open East Durham Pie Company. Submitted

Ben Filippo will leave his post as executive director of Preservation Durham to open the East Durham Pie Company’s new store on Driver Street.

Filippo announced in a Preservation Durham newsletter “that I will be moving out of the ED chair, in order to work alongside my wife as we open our family business, East Durham Pie Company, in the historic district we call home and love.” Filippo will join the nonprofit preservation group’s board of directors.

East Durham Pie Company began operating out of a certified kitchen delivering pies to order. The business will move to a new location on 406 S. Driver St.

Filippo has been director for two years. During that period, the organization acquired Open Durham, an online inventory of historic sites, and launched the Preservation Equity Project and Mural Bike Tours.

Preservation Equity provides technical assistance and low-interest loans for residents in homes 50 years or older. The program helps older residents to repair and keep their homes, and it seeks to keep working class and minority families in their homes.

In his farewell message, Filippo also mentioned two accomplishments of the organization: the completion of the Chesterfield and the Whitted School projects.

Preservation Durham has begun a search for a new director, said Rob Emerson of the group’s board of directors.

“The pace of change in Durham in recent decades has been truly remarkable,” Emerson said in the newsletter. “We’ve seen our once vacant downtown transformed into a hub of entrepreneurship and activity.”

But decades of disinvestment and neglect still threaten many of Durham’s urban neighborhoods, he continued. An even “greater threat is bland and insensitive redevelopment that threatens to water down our cultural and architectural heritage and widen the gulf between those who have and those who do not,” he said. “The rising tide might lift all boats, but if it rises too quickly the smallest and leakiest ones will be washed away.”

Cliff Bellamy: 919-419-6744, @CliffBellamy1