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Preserve America News from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

In this Issue

Join Us on Facebook
Status of Preserve America and Federal Historic Preservation Funding
Community Forum at the National Preservation Conference
Check Out a New Web Site on Sustainable Communities
Participate in National Public Lands Day
New Preserve America Community Features Dynamic Community Web Site
Preserve America Community Spotlight: Oyster Bay, New York


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Preserve America News |August  2011

Join Us on Facebook

Would you like to be able to discover new resources, access model programs, share your successes and seek advice from your peers? Would you like to do this anytime, anywhere? If so, we’d like your input on developing a lively and useful Preserve America Communities Facebook page. If you’d like to be part of a small group helping to create this new resource and collaboration tool for our 867 Preserve America Communities, please e-mail Judy Rodenstein.

logo courtesy Facebook

Status of Preserve America and Federal Historic Preservation Funding

     As of early August, 867 Preserve America Communities have been designated, 34 Preserve America Stewards recognized, 20 Presidential Awards bestowed, and more than $21 million awarded for 281 competitive grant projects throughout the country. While Preserve America Grants were not funded in FY 2011, and it appears unlikely that they will be funded for FY 2012, the First Lady continues to be engaged in the program with the formal designation of Preserve America Communities and Stewards.

     The U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Interior and Environment Appropriations approved the FY 2012 Interior spending bill on July 7, 2011; it was approved by the full committee on July 12. The bill zeroed out funding for Preserve America and Save America’s Treasures grants (as proposed in the President’s budget) and also included a 9 percent cut ($5 million) to the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) from $54.5 million to $49.5 million ($42.5 for State Historic Preservation Offices [SHPOs] and $7 million for Tribal Historic Preservation Offices [THPOs]). The ACHP would receive $5.498 million for its operations (an 11 percent cut from the FY 2012 Administration request). All of these numbers reflect FY 2009 levels.

      The proposed bill would provide overall funding for the Interior Department of $9.9 billion, $720 million below the agency’s current budget and $1.2 billion below the President’s FY 2012 request. This translates into the following:

  • A $129 million cut for the National Park Service (NPS) down to $2.5 billion.
  • National recreation and preservation programs, which include the National Register of Historic Places and National Heritage Areas, were funded at $49.363 million (a net reduction of about 15 percent from $57.87 million in FY 2011).
  • American Battlefield Protection Grants were funded at $2 million under NPS land acquisition, an increase of $640,000 from FY 2011.

     Assuming that the full House of Representatives will vote to accept the bill as proposed, the focus will shift to the Senate and possibly a conference committee to reconcile differences and try to come up with an agreed budget.  Given the current political climate, it is quite possible that a final budget will not be in place until well after the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2011. A stop-gap measure may have to be negotiated. 

     An earlier “dear colleague” letter circulated by Reps. Michael Turner and Russ Carnahan as co-chairs of the House Historic Preservation Caucus had asked for support for the HPF totaling $50 million for SHPOs, $11 million for THPOs, and $9 million for fully competitive, non-earmark grant programs “like Save America’s Treasures and Preserve America.”

Community Forum at the National Preservation Conference

Representatives of Preserve America Communities and Neighborhoods, Certified Local Governments, Main Street Communities and their public and private partners are invited to participate in the upcoming Preserve America Forum in Buffalo, New York. The forum will be Oct. 19, 2011 from 1 p.m. – 3:30 p.m., in conjunction with the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual conference.

This year’s theme for the forum is “Historic Communities and America’s Great Outdoors.” Participants are invited to explore the community implications of the federal America’s Great Outdoors Initiative announced last year by President Obama, and how it should be integrated with local preservation. We want to consider ways to successfully combine preservation with outdoor recreation and natural resource conservation, and how communities are working to make their hometowns more livable and sustainable in today’s challenging economy.

Come share your successes and best practices, and come away with practical ideas for your own local programs. ACHP staff will be on hand to help guide the discussion and update participants on the latest developments in Washington, DC.

If you are willing to make a short presentation sharing your community’s successful strategies as they relate to the theme, please e-mail by Sept. 16, 2011, to Ron Anzalone.  Although you are encouraged to register for the entire conference, general registration is NOT required to attend this free affinity group session which precedes the main conference.

Whether or not you want to make a presentation, if you plan to attend the Community Forum, we ask that you please RSVP no later than close of business on Sept. 30 to Judy Rodenstein. Please provide your name; title; Preserve America Community, Certified Local Government, Main Street, or other affiliation; e-mail address; and phone number.

We look forward to seeing you in Buffalo!

Central Terminal Building (National Trust photo: Jason Clement)

Check Out a New Web Site on Sustainable Communities

The federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities has launched a new Web site – www.sustainablecommunities.gov – which offers a wealth of information about federal programs and resources that can help local leaders enhance the sustainability of their communities. Sponsored by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Environmental Protection Agency, and Department of Transportation, the site has a section on available grants, links to Web publications on a variety of topics and other information.

Participate in National Public Lands Day

National Public Lands Day is Sept. 24, the nation's largest, single-day volunteer event for public lands, and it’s not too late to register a site in your community. Public lands include city and county property as well as lands owned by the federal or state governments. If historic resources on public lands in your community would benefit from a concentrated, one-day influx of volunteer labor, go to www.publiclandsday.org for more information.

Fort McHenry is a National Public Lands Day volunteer site organized by the National Aquarium. (photo courtesy National Park Service)

New Preserve America Community Features Dynamic Community Web Site

The Borough of Smethport, Pennsylvania, located along U.S. 6 in the Pennsylvania Wilds region of northern Pennsylvania, over the last decade has developed a Web-based community and school project. Called the Virtual Historic Smethport & McKean County Project, but nicknamed “Planet Smethport”  (www.smethporthistory.org), it is the brainchild of recently retired teacher and current Smethport Mayor Ross Porter. He and students from Smethport High School have led the development of Planet Smethport for the benefit of the entire community and region.  

As described on the Web site, “We are building an immense puzzle in which we are fitting historic photos, post cards, biographies, geographies, histories, newspaper clippings, personal histories & interviews, obituaries, artifacts, & memorabilia all together to form a huge portrait puzzle of this magnificent McKean County & Smethport area. Eventually all (or nearly all) of the scenes within the site will be linked to a current photo of the same location."   

This site is owned and operated through the Smethport Area School District. It is being created by both Smethport students both past and present as well as interested community members both past and present.  project@smethporthistory.org

Orlo J. Hamlin mansion

Preserve America Community Spotlight: Oyster Bay, New York

     Here are some ideas that may inspire you from the most recent Oyster Bay Main Street News. The Hamlet of Oyster Bay has been a Preserve America Community since 2008.

Packaging Promotion Boosts Historic Destinations

     The Oyster Bay Railroad Museum announces the "Spend A Day In Oyster Bay" tourist program, which runs through Labor Day weekend, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tourists can spend a day in one of the most picturesque and historic areas on the north shore of Long Island. The program's goal is to market and promote the area's historical, cultural and retail establishments.

     The "Spend A Day" program is featured in the Long Island Rail Road 2011 "Long Island Getaways" package which includes discounted round trip rail fare and local ground transport provided by Oyster Ride's minivans. The van loop includes the major attractions: Oyster Bay Railroad Museum, Planting Fields Arboretum/Coe Hall, Sagamore Hill, Theodore Roosevelt Bird Sanctuary and Young's Memorial Cemetery. Also included is the use of "electronic wands" for a self-guided audio walking tour to the many historical attractions in the downtown, including the Oyster Bay Historical Society/Earle Wightman House, Raynham Hall Museum, Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park and the Waterfront Center.

     The program, a long-held goal of many organizations to capitalize on the potential of Oyster Bay as a viable historical destination, is a collaborative effort of the Railroad Museum, Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce, Oyster Bay Main Street Association, Long Island Railroad, and the organizations mentioned above. For more information, visit www.obrm.org, or call (516) 558-7036.

Public to Enjoy Works by Artists in Historic Landscapes

     Teaching Studios 1st Plein Air Competition is being held in August at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site in Oyster Bay, New York - a setting with more than 83 acres of beautiful landscape, as well as the last home of Theodore Roosevelt, a 23-room Victorian structure of frame and brick. The historic site is located on the Gold Coast of northern Long Island. Entry is by application and is limited to 35 artists. 

     Demonstrations are scheduled and awards will be given out to those who make paintings of distinction. Selected works will be exhibited at the Oyster Bay Historical Society. For more information, visit http://inoysterbay.blogspot.com/2011/06/plein-air-competition-at-sagamore-hill.html.

Oyster Bay Railroad Museum

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