Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office
Nominees sought for 30th Annual Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Preservation Awards

Press Release Date:  Friday, February 22, 2008  
Contact Information:  Diane Comer
(502) 564-7005 Ext. 120

Public encouraged to nominate deserving individuals, projects and organizations

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation and Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office are seeking nominations for 2008 Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Preservation Awards, given annually to individuals, organizations and projects that have made a significant contribution preserving Kentucky’s historic and prehistoric resources.  This year marks the 30th anniversary of this signature statewide event, which recognizes historic preservation efforts made through the restoration or rehabilitation of an important building, structure or community resource or through a lifetime commitment to encouraging and promoting historic preservation.

Awards are presented in three categories:

  • Preservation Project Awards recognize outstanding examples of historic building restoration or rehabilitation, or other types of projects that have had a positive impact on Kentucky’s built environment.
  • Service to Preservation Awards honor those who have furthered historic preservation activities or had a positive impact in their communities, including individuals, organizations, public officials, financial institutions, news media and/or volunteers.
  • The Ida Lee Willis Memorial Award goes to the individual who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the cause of historic preservation in the Commonwealth.  The 2007 honoree was David L. Morgan of Washington, DC, retired executive director of the Kentucky Heritage Council and former state historic preservation officer.

Nominations must be submitted to the Kentucky Heritage Council, 300 Washington Street, Frankfort, KY, 40601, in person or via mail or fax at 502-564-5820.  All entries must be received or postmarked by Saturday, March 15.  Nominations will be reviewed and awards made by a panel of judges representing various historical organizations across the state, including the Kentucky Heritage Council and members of the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation.  Winners will be recognized during a special ceremony Wednesday, May 21 at the Old State Capitol in Frankfort.

During the ceremony, winners of the 10th Annual Statewide Photo-Essay Competition will also be honored.  The contest is co-sponsored by the Kentucky Heritage Council and Preservation Kentucky, Inc., and open to all Kentucky schoolchildren in grades 1-12.  The 2008 theme, Restore-Reuse-Recycle, is intended to challenge students to think about creative uses for historic buildings, how they can and why they should be recycled and the resulting benefits to the environment and sustainable development.  Winning photos and student essays from previous years may be viewed online at  Deadline for entries is also March 15.

For nomination forms or more information about Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Preservation Awards or the Photo-Essay Competition, see the Kentucky Heritage Council Web site,, or contact Becky Shipp, Site Development Program manager, at 502-564-7005, ext. 133, or
The Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation was chartered in 1979 to honor Ida Lee Willis, the first executive director of the Kentucky Heritage Commission (now the Kentucky Heritage Council) and widow of former Governor Simeon Willis.  It was during Mrs. Willis’ tenure that Kentucky’s successful statewide historic preservation program was initiated.  Donna M. Neary is the current Heritage Council executive director and state historic preservation officer.

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An agency of the Kentucky Commerce Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of historic and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens.  This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life.