Preserve America News from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

In this Issue

New Report Hits Newsstands on Preservation and Energy Efficiency
First Lady Designates New Preserve America Steward
New Preserve America Communities Illustrate America’s Varied Heritage
National Travel and Tourism Strategy Approved
ACHP Rightsizing Task Force Taps Preserve America Communities
Come to Virginia in July to Learn About Preserve America


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Preserve America News |May  2012

New Report Hits Newsstands on Preservation and Energy Efficiency

The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently issued a new report, The Greenest Building: Quantifying the Environmental Value of Building Reuse, which concludes that building reuse is almost always more environmentally friendly than new construction. Through life cycle analysis of several building types, the report quantifies the energy efficiency benefits of retaining and reusing existing buildings. It is a groundbreaking report that local decision makers should be aware of when considering how preservation of historic properties can contribute to environmental sustainability.

Learn more about the report here.

First Lady Designates New Preserve America Steward

On May 9, First Lady Michelle Obama designated the Texas Archeological Society as a Preserve America Steward in recognition of its volunteer program. Preserve America Steward designation recognizes programs that demonstrate a successful use of volunteer time and commitment in order to help care for our historic heritage.

Through its volunteer program, the Texas Archeological Society provides the manpower to assist state and federal agencies, universities and private landowners in discovering and protecting archaeological sites on their property. Through Field Schools, volunteers help to survey and excavate sites, and to clean, catalog and inventory artifact collections. Volunteers also help to measure, draw, describe and photograph rock art throughout the state.

 The ACHP currently is accepting applications for Preserve America Steward designation. Click here for more information on how to apply.

New Preserve America Communities Illustrate America’s Varied Heritage

First Lady Michelle Obama sent designation letters to five new Preserve America Communities May 9, bringing the nationwide total to 877. The newly designated communities are Colusa, Calif.; Albion, N.Y.; Mount Pleasant, S.C.; Fort Pierre, S.D.; and Douglas, Wy.

The rediscovery of a marker left by French explorers in 1743, the living legacy of West African basket making traditions practiced by the Gullah Geechee descendants of slaves and the preservation of murals of iconic Wild West scenes painted by Italian POWs in a WWII camp are just some of the American stories these communities tell. Visitors can experience a longhorn cattle drive and other Western traditions, or walk, bike or boat a 19th century commercial corridor along the Erie Canal.

Applications from prospective new Preserve America Communities are accepted on a rolling basis. More information is available here  

The program recognizes a select group of communities that use their heritage resources in sustainable ways and encourage residents and visitors to explore and enjoy their heritage. These latest designations bring California to a total of 37 and New York to a total of 41 communities recognized. South Carolina now has 24 designated communities, South Dakota seven and Wyoming 10.

A full list of Preserve America Communities, along with profiles and contact information, can be found here.

“It is good news for the nation when communities demonstrate that they want to enjoy and share the economic, educational, environmental and sustainability benefits preservation provides, while creating more vibrant and desirable places to live, work and visit.” said Wayne Donaldson, chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Colusa, Calif. Western Days

National Travel and Tourism Strategy Approved

Early this year, the President signed Executive Order 13597 "Establishing Visa and Foreign Visitor Processing Goals and the Task Force on Travel and Competitiveness" focused on job creation through the travel and tourism industry in the U.S., including improving U.S. prospects for attracting and retaining overseas visitors and enhancing the domestic travel situation. 

Following issuance of the E.O., which includes directives to improve visitor processing by the Departments of State and Homeland Security, a Task Force was set up (led by the Departments of the Interior and Commerce) and charged with developing a National Tourism Plan and Strategy. Staff from the ACHP participated in several meetings and provided written comments in response to a Federal Register notice as well as the draft plan. Input included suggestions for promotion of distinctive regions, communities and cultural heritage destinations in addition to national park units; enhancement of existing research on travel and tourism; and highlighting special places in the U.S. like designated World Heritage sites, National Heritage Areas and National Scenic Byways. 

On May 10, the overall plan was approved by the White House and released. It should be noted that World Heritage sites, Preserve America and Scenic Byways are mentioned in the plan. The next challenge will be to develop more detailed strategies to help implement the plan. Read the White House release and a copy of the plan.

ACHP Rightsizing Task Force Taps Preserve America Communities

In 2011, the ACHP established a task force to examine and address the issue of “rightsizing” in communities, including various steps cities are taking to respond to shrinking populations in these older urban communities. While many of the communities challenged by rightsizing are located in the Northeast and the “Rust Belt,” a number of cities in other areas of the nation are also affected. Historic preservation is not typically included in the analysis of alternatives to stabilize and revitalize these communities and neighborhoods. 

The ACHP’s Rightsizing Task Force is chaired by ACHP Member Bradford White and co-chaired by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Other members include the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture; Environmental Protection Agency; National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers; National Alliance of Preservation Commissions; the ACHP’s Alumni Foundation; and the mayor of Columbus, Ohio. 

Early in its discussions the task force agreed further research on rightsizing was required if the issue was to be fully understood from a historic preservation perspective. Since the needed information was not readily available, the Task Force solicited assistance from PlaceEconomics to prepare a survey and analysis of a representative sample of rightsizing communities. A report, “Historic Preservation and Rightsizing—Current Practices and Resources Survey,” was submitted to the ACHP in May 2012. Nearly half of the 20 surveyed cities turned out to be designated Preserve America Communities (Baltimore, Md.; Saginaw, Mich.; Binghamton, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, N.Y.; Dayton, Ohio; and Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, Penn.). Read the report.

Baltimore Inner Harbor (photo courtesy Maryland Office of Tourism)

Come to Virginia in July to Learn About Preserve America

The National Alliance of Preservation Commissions Forum is July 18-22 in Norfolk.

In addition to other planned presentations at the Forum, including a session on the ACHP’s recent study of Measuring the Economic Impacts of Historic Preservation on July 20 at 2 p.m., there will also be a brief image-rich overview of the Preserve America program presented by the ACHP’s Ron Anzalone at an “Ignite” session on July 20 at 3 p.m. Hope to see you in Norfolk!

Read more about the conference.

Norfolk Waterside 

Advisory Council on
Historic Preservation
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