Present, future generations reap benefits from historic preservation

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By Celia McDonald

We first offered our new Main Street Membership program at Extension Expo and were pleased to have quite a few of you sign up, about half also volunteering to help with projects. People are still coming in to the office to sign up: $5 for students and seniors 60 or over; $10 for other individuals; $20 for businesses and organizations and $100 for a lifetime membership. We will be reaching out into the community to find more corporate members and individuals and we have no boundaries where members are concerned.

For more information, call me at 358-5913 or use mainstreethodgenville@windstream.net.

Kentucky benefits from preservation programs

I hope you will take time to read this report from the KHC Executive Director/State Preservation Officer Mark Dennen. It explains how Kentucky has benefited from major preservation programs.

Dennen writes: By now I hope most of you are aware of the threat to cut federal funding for the Save America’s Treasures and Preserve America grants programs. Kentucky responded quickly to this issue with the formation of a committee to plan and implement a strategy to help get the word out about this threat and encourage individuals to contact their legislators about the positive impact these programs have had in our state.

The committee included representatives of Preservation Kentucky, Inc., Preservation Louisville, Inc., Kentucky advisors to the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Kentucky representative for Preservation Action. The Kentucky Heritage Council participated by compiling and assessing data on the economic impact of historic preservation throughout the Commonwealth, especially the return on investment generated by SAT and PA grants as well as the Kentucky Main Street Program and federal and state rehabilitation tax credits.

These numbers are impressive. See for yourself at www.heritage.ky.gov, where you can view or download more information and data sheets listed by Congressional districts.

In our efforts to verify the success of the SAT and PA grant programs in Kentucky, it was very pleasing to find that the economic data strongly supports the argument that these programs need to be continued.

Save America’s Treasures has provided $6.3 million in grants to 24 projects across the state, generating close to $8 million in matching funds. Of these, it was quantified that 17 projects created 171 jobs for a total investment averaging $21,536 per job created. It should be noted that the costs in Kentucky associated with the federal stimulus funds distributed to date have averaged $233,839 per job created. Simply comparing these costs shows that SAT grants are a smart investment.

Preserve America grants, which are for planning rather than bricks and mortar, have brought more than $700,000 to Kentucky, and with a 50 percent match required have generated more than $1.4 million in investment.