Go online with comments for state historic preservation plan

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Kentucky Heritage Council solicits input

By Celia McDonald

The Kentucky State Historic Preservation Plan is a five-year comprehensive plan that addresses critical issues affecting historic and cultural places in Kentucky. As the primary state agency responsible for overseeing historic preservation activities in the Commonwealth, the Kentucky Heritage Council  is charged with developing plan priorities, goals and strategies.

The plan is a statement of public policy that guides statewide initiatives, addresses critical issues affecting historic and cultural resources, and recommends solutions to minimize threats to our resources. Input from the public is a vital part of the planning process. Go to www./heritage.ky.gov to take an online survey and express your concerns, make recommendations or comments.

Eight public meetings about the plan have been scheduled. The closest one for those in LaRue County is in Louisville on March 19 at the Frazier International History Museum, 6:30-8 p.m.

To learn more about historic preservation planning or see other public meeting dates, see the KHC Web site at http://heritage.ky.gov/planresearch.

Lincoln Bicentennial Symposia coming up

Three new symposia in the Lincoln Bicentennial Symposia series are coming up. The symposia are sponsored by the Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, the Kentucky Heritage Council, The Kentucky Historical Society, Georgetown College Underground Railroad Research Institute, Kentucky State Parks, Centre College, Lincoln Memorial University, the city of Maysville and Friends of the Network to Freedom Association.

The first meeting was at Centre College in February. The rest of the schedule is: “The Lincolns, Slavery and the Opening of the West,” April 17-18 at Pine Mountain Resort Park, Pineville; “Kentucky and the Constitution,” June 12-13, Russell Theatre, Maysville; and “Kentucky, Emancipation and the War,” Sept. 17-18 at Paducah (site to be announced).

For more information or to register, call 502-564-7005, ext. 125.

“Historic Preservation in Kentucky” publication features local project

A new book sponsored by Preservation Kentucky, Inc., features one of Main Street Hodgenville’s projects in a full page article on the former Hazle Electric building which was restored by Main Street Hodgenville and converted into a restaurant. The project was enabled in part by the Kentucky Historic Preservation Tax Credit. This was one of a handful of projects highlighted from throughout the state.

Other notes from the book follow.

Kentucky is a national leader in preservation. Kentucky ranks No. 1 in the White House’s Preserve America Initiative, with 73 designated recognized communities and neighborhoods. Kentucky ranks fourth in the nation in total listings in the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, the Kentucky Heritage Council has documented more than 40,000 historic structures in Kentucky.

Designated historic districts have higher increases in property values. Properties located in local and National Register historic districts experience larger increases in property values than in unprotected or undesignated neighborhoods. Local historic designations are a vital tool because they provide investors with a greater assurance that their neighborhood is protected from inappropriate changes to architectural details.

Heritage tourism is a vital component of Kentucky’s economy. Tourism is Kentucky’s third largest industry and second largest employer. Visitor spending surpassed the $10 billion mark for the first time in the state’s history in 2006. 

Investing in downtown areas creates tangible economic benefits. The Main Street program is a nationally recognized economic strategy that has benefited Kentucky cities of all sizes, both urban and rural. The book says there are currently 86 cities that participate in the Renaissance/Main Street program in Kentucky;  however, I believe the number is now closer to 100. In 2006, there was a total reinvestment of $292 million in participating Kentucky cities, with about $128 million in private investment, $70 million in public improvements and nearly $95 million in new construction.

Since Kentucky’s involvement in the program began in 1979, a total investment of more than $42 billion has been reinvested in Kentucky downtowns.

Historic preservation creates jobs for Kentuckians. Historic preservation results in more job creation than most other investments. Studies have shown that historic rehabilitation actually creates more jobs than the average job in new construction. Data shows that 43 jobs are created for every $1 million in investment in historic rehabilitation.