Funding for Preservation and Transportation


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Jim Vaughan, State historic Preservation Officer and Executive Director, Pennsylvania Historical and State Museum Commission

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  • Good afternoon.I am pleased to be here with you. My role here is to provide an update on funding for preservation in PA. Unfortunately that will be a brief part of my presentation.There is some good new and some not so good news. I also want to talk about some of the changes related to tight funding and the number of preservation tools available in our tool chest.
  • At the PHMC, our Bureau for Historic Preservationhas primary responsible for administering the Commonwealth’s historic preservation programs authorized under the State History Code and the National Historic Preservation Act. But, we also have a critical preservation role as the stewards of more than 250 state-owned historic structures at more than 40 historic sites and museums throughout the state.Fortunately, we have developed close relationships with the communities in which they are located and thus have local non-profit partners at most of these sites who have stepped up their efforts as state funding has declined.
  • I believe that we should never waste a Crisis. Adversity often provides great opportunities for planning, innovation and building partnerships. That’s what we should all be doing until the economy recovers and then we should keep on doing it. We all benefit when we combine our collective knowledge, strengths and expertise.
  • During the process of developing the Commonwealth’s new 5-year historic preservation plan, which I will talk about later, we learnedwhat the citizens of the Commonwealth value about their communities. We learned that communities value historic structures and neighborhoods but not quite as highly as they value landscapes, open spaces and parks.We also heard that historic preservation should not be defined and/or confined by bureaucratic perceptions, but promoted as an integral tool in the community revitalization tool box. We saw frequent use of terms likecommunity authenticity, and collaboration . Makes me think that people value the results but not always the process.They understand that Historic preservation is essential to the mix of strategies that can help Pennsylvania grow and retain and attract residents, businesses, and visitors.andimprove the quality of life in their communitie.
  • A parallel study by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources when it was developing its 5-year Outdoor Recreation Plan for the Commonwealth heard the same comments. HistoricBuildings ranked third on the list of what communities value. Both surveys confirmed that Pennsylvanians recognize that it’s the combination of cultural and natural resources that makes Pennsylvania so special. They value Pennsylvania’s mountains, rivers and farmsas well ashistoric downtowns, neighborhoods and rural communities. It isgovernments that divide these responsibilities among differentagencies. Thus the need for greater inter-agency, inter-jurisdictional and inter-organizational collaborations to achieve our preservation goals.
  • We need anapproach to historic preservation that is more comprehensive, viewing historic resources as part of their surrounding contexts . We need to replace the structure-by-structure approach through better collaborative planning.By the way, integrating historical and natural resources in Pa is not a new idea.PHMC’s mission has, for almost a century, included the stewardship of Pennsylvania’s historical, cultural and natural resources. We are, in fact, at the State Museum stewards of the Commonwealth’s collections of flora, fauna, fossils, geological samples as well as it historical and archeological collections. Believe me. I could show you rows of shelves with big jars of PA snakes, salmander, frogs and lizazrds floating in alcohol. But I digress PHMC’s Bureau of Historic Preservation is creating an equallybroad vision for Pennsylvania Historic preservation. 
  • As you can see this visionreflects the link between the preservation of cultural and natural resources and will require new collaborations and partnerships especially at the local level.
  • I want to remind you that, from the beginning, Historic Preservation has been most successful as a Grass Roots Movement Early preservation in the United States was closely linked to the establishment of a national identity by focusing on those sites that were linked to the settlement and independence movements, especially sites associated with the life of George Washington and other founding fathers. Unlike other countries, however, the will to conserve and monumentalize such sites wasnot initiated by the federal or local government, but rather, by local citizen groups who valued the cultural, historic and patriotic sites that lay in their immediate community.It may seem like a recent trend, but the truth is, for decades, government offered little interest, assistance, or official recognition of many of these sites.
  • Today most of us believe that government does and should have a rolein the stewardship of the nation’s heritage. We want good public policy concerning the care and protection of our historic resources and a fair share of funding to support and implement those policies. But it seems most likely that government funding will not return to previous levels in the near future.We have to do more on our own at least for a while.Nevertheless, We must constantly remind our policy makers and funders that historic preservation is no longer just about the past it’s a toolfor shaping the future.
  •  In Pennsylvania, cultural and historic resources are found nearly everywhere…in cities and small towns…in fields and forests…along waterways and on mountaintops. From the ice age to the present the evidence of each successive generationis reflected in Pennsylvania’s architecture, the arrangement of public spaces, agricultural and industrial landscapes, and along trails and transportation routes. Protecting them requires collaborative planning involving many agencies and organization.
  • As you know, over the years, historic preservation has expanded beyond telling the stories and saving places associated with our founding fathers. Today Historic preservation is a necessary and a primarily a forward looking tool! And it has many diverse components.
  • Historic preservation is about planning.Preservation planning is key to establishing public policies and strategies that can help prevent the loss of historic and natural resources. It provides a forum for community discussion and education about issues related to historic resources, natural resources and development. This includes important questions such as when and where it may be appropriate to demolish historic buildings, build roads and what resources must be protected to maintain the community's unique natural, historic and architectural character.
  •  Historic preservation is about affordable housing.Those of us with knowledge of historic preservation tools can, in concert with community leaders, help to strengthen older communities through the rehabilitation, adaptive reuse, and development of housing for a broad income range of buyers and renters.
  • Historic preservation is about sustainable, healthy communities with character and diversity.Communities are a mix of the old and the new, and they should be planned and designed in ways that are compatible and mindful of the needs of communities that are trying to reduce energy consumption,sustain and improve infrastructure and conserve historic and natural resources.
  • Historic preservation is about conserving places, communities and landscapes, where people want to live, visit and work. Places that lack a sense of place and character usually struggle to attract and sustain businesses and residents because land use decisions frequently have no special relationship to the places in which they are located—they could be anywhere. (PaulGolberger”s comments about Houston at NTHP conference)?When you visit communities in Pennsylvania, you are immediately aware that the most successful communities are frequently the ones that have planned for and managed their historic and natural resources with the greatest care.
  • Historic preservation is about economic development: attracting tourist, businesses and homeownersto the Commonwealth.  
  • Historic preservation is also about preparing the next generation to appreciate the history of their community, state and nation!.  It’s never too early to expose children to historic preservation!
  • Historic preservation is about addressing the history of all of us. A national initiative is underway to discover and acknowledge the contributions of under-represented communities through each component of the national historic preservation program: survey, nominations, educational programs, even rehab tax credit and Section 106 projects.One of our jobs is to make communities aware of all the tools available to achieve the goals of historic preservtion
  • What are the Tools and Strategies to Achieve Pennsylvania's Preservation Goals? One tool is money!! I will talk about that first. Unfortunately this is a very short section of my talk, but remember that it is only one small resource in a tool box of many effective programs that are available to us.
  • *The Keystone Historic Preservation Grant ProgramIn 1993the Pennsylvania General Assembly established Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund. This fund was established by restricting a portion of the revenue from the state realty transfer tax. PHMC uses its share primarily to maintained the commonwealth-owned historic sites and Museums. But we also also set aside a minimum of $500,000 from this revenue stream for preservation grants. We hope it will be more in the future.
  • *The Certified Local Government Grant ProgramThe Commonwealth receives an annual Federal grant to administer the National Historic Preservation Act. 10% of that grant is set aside for grants to Certified Local Governments for purposes of historic preservation activities. Communities wishing to be designated CLGs should consult with the Bureau for Historic Preservation’s community preservation coordinators for assistance in qualifying for this designation.
  • OK ! That’s the end of the money, but we have manyother tools to work with. One is the new 5-year historic preservation plan for the Commonwealth .I hope you will stop by our exhibit booth while you’re at the conference to pick up Building Better Communities; The Preservation of Place in Pennsylvania. You can also download a copy from the Commission’s website.The plan outlines the current state of resources and preservation efforts statewide—including funding sources, major preservation partners, applicable legislation, and public perceptions of the state of preservation and its priorities. Its pursues the vision I showed you earlier.To Achieve the vision, the plan’s action agenda identifies 5 major goals.
  • Note that the first four goals are external and require us to work with partners. In the fifth goal we challenge ourselves to be more efficient and less bureaucratic.
  • We hope all of our partners will adopt these goals and take action.By working together, Pennsylvanians can maintain and enhance their cultural and natural resources and make the Commonwealth a desirable place to call home, conduct business, and explore.
  •  As I mentioned earlier, we count on government to create policies that benefit our heritage. Recently, in cooperation with Preservation PA, the PHMC initiated a study on the Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation Activities in Pennsylvania. As well all know historic preservation efforts can have significant positive impacts on property values, downtown revitalization, tourism activity, job creation, and tax revenue generation and this report provides the hard data to prove it. The companion report, which developed from data analyzed from the study, Policy Recommendations to Strengthen the Power of Preservation, is an excellent report that youshould study carefully. You can use it to make a strong case for investment in historic preservation.
  • On June 30, 2012, after many years of advocacy, Pennsylvania became the 30th state in the country to offer a state historic tax credit when Governor Tom Corbett signed the FY 2013 Commonwealth Budget and established the Historic Preservation Incentive Act. This tax credit will be a companion to the very successful federal tax credit program. The PHMCand the Department of Economic and Community Development will develop the program guidelines. The credit goes into effect July 1, 2012 but the first tax credits will not be issued until after July 1, 2013. Just like the federal program, this credit is issued after the project is completed. To start, the program is limited to $3 million annually with an individual project cap of $500,000.
  • Over the last several years, the Bureau for Historic Preservation has engaged inLong Range Planning Partnerships with Metropolitan and Rural Planning Organizations to assist them with a streamlined approach for incorporating historic and archaeological resources into their Long Range Transportation Plans. The bureau piloted the partnership with the Lancaster County MPO and are now working with others RPOs and MPOsPart of our role is to facilitate stake holders’ meetings to gauge the public’s interests and concerns with transportation projects and the effects they may have on historic properties.
  • *The Commission’s Cultural Resources Geographic Information System is a partnership between PennDOT and BHP. It is a map-based inventory of the historic and archaeological sites and surveys stored in the files of the BHP. It’s amazing!it will help you to efficiently plan your projects and identify resources that may be affected by your project’s proposed actions.
  • The Preserve America program recognizes communities that protect and celebrate their heritage; use their historic assets for economic development and community revitalization; and encourage people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs. If your community meets the criteria, I highly recommend that you make an effort to join the 35 communities in Pennsylvania who have already been designated as Preserve America Communities. The Preserve America matching-grant program provides planning funding to designated Preserve America Communities to support preservation efforts through heritage tourism, education, and historic preservation planning. Although there was no 2012 appropriation, there is hope that it will be funded in the future. Designation includes authorization to use the Preserve America logo on signs, flags, banners, and promotional materials and other marketing benefits.
  • Habitat for Humanity can be a great new partner for preservation projects. It isn’t just about new home infill any more. Habitat also rehabilitates vacant, condemned homes. It also runs a critical home repair program designed to help keep low-income families in their existing home by making home repairs.
  • *Blight RemediationIf you don’t have a copy of the Quick Guide: New Tools to Address Blight and Abandonment, I recommend getting one. It was published in 2011 by the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania and it provides a compilation and brief description of state laws recently enacted for Pennsylvania’s communities to address the problem of vacant, abandoned and blighted private property, a problem found in many of Pennsylvania’s oldest and sometimes historic communities. It also discusses additional tools that Pennsylvania needs to address these chronic issues, but does not yet have.
  • Local Historic District Designation is another important preservation tool.There are three forms of state enabling legislation that empower local governments to protect historic resources within their municipal boundaries. I invite you to read the publication, Historic District Designation in Pennsylvania, to determine which path might be most suitable to your community.  All these tools and programs, and many more that I did not mention, should suggest to everyone that there are many partners with whom we should engage.
  • Coalitions, Partnerships and Collaborations Since traditionally, historic preservation has been a local, grassroots, community effort movement, building coalitions, partnerships and collaborations that address mutual needs is an effective preservation tool.I was approached last week by a coalition of 6 organizations (in the fields of preservation, architecture business, Tourism, and Education) Scranton proposing to put a restaurant and brew pub in PHMC Scranton Iron Furnaces. Naturally I encouraged them to proceed.Increasingly local businesses understand the value of giving old buildings another chance and can be significant partners.
  • the statewide historic preservation plan lists many ways to GET PEOPLE involved in historic preservation. It’s a good read. Please believe me, it’s not just an administrative guide for the Bureau for Historic Preservation.
  • County and local governments are encouraged to adopt this Plan by resolution of their governing body and implement the actions that apply to their communities. The plan invites local governments to work in partnership with BHP to identifyand document their important historic resources; toestablish policies and regulations that support preservation; and, to participate in training of their government officials and staff on state and federal preservation requirements.
  • The Plan defines stronger relationships with State and Federal agenciesBHP commits to establish clear lines of communication by designating a single point of contact for each.The plan encourages state agencies tosupport BHP’s efforts to improve its National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106, and the Pennsylvania History Code consultation procedures so that each agency is afforded quicker responses with less paperwork. It urges state agencies to consider historic resources earlier in their planning and to be proactive in using and preserving these resources. When impacts are unavoidable, BHP wants to collaborate to develop mitigation strategies that will add lasting value to local communities.
  • We invite Preservation Advocacy Groups to align their efforts to achieve the preservation priorities of their community, region, with this statewide Plan. And of course the plan shows individuals a variety of ways to get engaged in preservation.If we are all working from the same statewide playbook we are much more likely to achieve our goals.
  • Today we are working with reduced resources in a difficult economic climate but from the PHMC perspective historic preservation can continue to expand its role in improving the quality of life in Pennsylvania. To do so, we need to work smarter and be less bureaucratic. We need to strengthen old partnerships and build new ones. We need to become better advocates for good policy and reasonable public funding. We need to use all the tools in our preservation tool kit and we need to align our efforts across the commonwealth around a statewide plan and vision.
  • In closing, I am pleased to announce that PHMC will be partnering with Preservation PA and PennDOTto host the National Alliance of Preservation’Commissioners2014 Biennial Forum in Philadelphia.  The National Alliance of Preservation Commissions is the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting local historic preservation commissions. A major component of NAPC’s mission is to provide educational and training programs to the dedicated volunteers who serve on local historic preservation commissions and municipal staff. will present a number of mutually beneficial opportunities for all of the partners.  For NAPC, this will be a great opportunity to introduce itself to the numerous HARBs and Historical Commissions in Pennsylvania, particularly the southeastern corner of the state.  For PreservationPA, PennDOT, and PHMC, the Forum will be an opportunity to bring national level training to our local government partners in the Philadelphia region.  The combination of the statewide and national conferences will be an opportunity to blend content and reach new audiences that have not traditionally participated our statewide Transportation and Heritage Byways Conference. Some preliminary planning has already started and we welcome your ideas and suggestions as we move forward with organizing this great event.
  • Again, thank you for this opportunity to share PHMC’s views about historic preservation in the Commonwealth. I hope that you will join the PHMC in using all the policies, programs and tools to help improve the quality of life for all citizens in Pennsylvania.
  • Funding for Preservation and Transportation

    1. 1. A Question of Priorities:Public Funding for Preservation and Transportation
    2. 2. Pennsylvanians will appreciatethe significant contribution that historymakes in forming the character oftheir communities and landscapes.
    3. 3. Communities will take actionto respect their history and identify and protecttheir assets in ways that add value to local environments andsustain their unique authenticity of place.
    4. 4. By working together,Pennsylvanians can maintain and enhancetheir cultural and natural resources andmake the Commonwealth a desirable placeto call home, conduct business, andexplore.
    5. 5. 1. Increase preservation planning at the local level2. Expand and strengthen state and federal partnerships3. Bolster the efforts of preservation advocates and partners4. Identify, recruit and engage new audiences5. Administer an effective and proactive statewide historic preservation program
    6. 6. SAVE THE DATE 2014 See you inPhiladelphia