Preservation Roundup: Politics, Budget Woes, Controversy — and Some Fun, Too

Posted on: October 21st, 2008 by Sarah Heffern

My apologies for the delay in this week's Preservation Round-Up. Our usual recapper is in Tulsa at the National Preservation Conference, so I'm jumping in, albeit a little late.

In the midst of our current hotly-contested presidential election, it's no surprise that politics is on everyone's mind -- including preservationists. Katie Eggers Comeau at the Landmark Society of Western New York has written a great, nonpartisan post about politics and preservation:

After all, historic preservation ties into issues that candidates on both sides hold dear: it’s about strengthening local economies and creating local jobs, revitalizing historic downtowns and neighborhoods, conserving a unique sense of place, protecting the environment, and protecting and promoting the places that have contributed to our national character over the generations.

Preservation New Jersey shares the stories of two specific sites that are threatened and draws connections between the budget woes in the Garden State and recent concerns that have left sites in California and Illinois similarly at risk.

The Governor and Administration have warned fans and supporters of state historic sites and parks that new sources of non-tax revenue must be found in order to keep these important places open and available to NJ citizens.

In 2006, we listed Kenilworth, Illinios on our annual list of America's 11 Most Endangered Places as its historic homes were at risk from teardowns. A little over two years later, Vince Michael has taken a look at the ways Kenilworth residents are fighting the trend -- and the opposition they continue to face.

So, the village came up with a clever plan: list the town on the National Register of Historic Places. This adds NO regulation to homeowners and provides NO protection against teardowns, but addresses the media embarrassment. It also would allow ONLY THOSE HOMEOWNERS WHO WANT TO to take advantage of the Illinois Property Tax Assessment Freeze program. Upside without a downside.

Hmm... I've picked a couple of heavy topics there, so I'll end with a couple of lighter ones:

Our own Max van Balgooy, director of interpretation and education for National Trust Historic Sites, has recapped the lessons he learned at the Attingham Summer School program in England:

Personally, the greatest value of the Attingham Summer School is experiencing the interplay between art, furniture, rooms, buildings, and landscape. It truly points out the distinctions among historic sites, museums, and art galleries.

If this sounds like it might be up your alley, the application deadline for next year's course is January 31, 2009.

Preservation Greensboro is getting into the spirit of the season with a family-friendly evening of supernatural tales at the Blandwood Mansion this Saturday.

Blandwood’s front parlor is among the best-preserved Victorian interior's in North Carolina, and no better place to hear a story.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the National Trust's social media strategist. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

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