Kentucky Heritage Council
Rural Heritage Development Initiative survey of historic resources underway in Marion, Washington counties
Release Date Contact: Diane Comer
IMMEDIATE 502-564-7005, ext. 120
September 11, 2006 firstname.lastname@example.org
FRANKFORT, Ky. – A comprehensive survey of historic resources in rural Marion and Washington counties will begin this week by staff of the Rural Heritage Development Initiative (RHDI), a project of the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office and Preservation Kentucky, Inc., in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The survey is being funded by a $60,000 matching grant from Preserve America, a White House initiative that supports community efforts to preserve the nation’s cultural and natural heritage.
More information about the survey process will be presented during a public meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, September 18 at the Springfield Opera House on Main Street.
Tamara Farnsworth and Jenn Ryall are the survey team members who will canvass the counties to document buildings, structures such as outbuildings and barns, and other sites 50 years of age or older. For each historic resource identified, exterior photographs will be taken and a survey form completed that includes information such as architectural style, dates of construction, materials, additions or alterations, special features and historic significance. The survey will also flag structures and districts that may be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Being included in the survey does not mean that a building or structure will be listed in the National Register, nor does it convey any restrictions on the property.
The RHDI is a three-year project to identify and implement preservation-based economic development strategies in the Central Kentucky Heartland, a region encompassing the counties of Boyle, Mercer, Marion, Washington, Nelson, LaRue, Green and Taylor. The public-private initiative is funded in significant part through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The RHDI field representative is Amy Potts. Local steering committee members from Marion and Washington counties are Lebanon City Administrator John Thomas, Bradsfordsville Mayor David Edelen, Cox’s Creek Elementary School Principal Jan Lanham, Springfield-Washington County Economic Development Agency Director Hal Goode, Washington County Extension Agent Rick Greenwell, Springfield Mayor Mike Haydon and community leader Elaine Simms.
"The eight-county RHDI area is rich in historical sites and Springfield is no exception. We're delighted to host this meeting in one of them, our recently restored Opera House," said Mayor Haydon.
"The information gathered during this survey will improve our understanding about the different types of historic resources we have in this region and serve as an important planning tool in support of infrastructure improvements, economic development and heritage tourism,” added John Settles, Washington County Judge-Executive.
The Kentucky Heritage Council is the lead agency for the survey, and all information collected will be added to the Kentucky Historic Resources Inventory maintained at the Heritage Council office in Frankfort. As part of the initiative, the survey team will also collect heritage tourism data from the region. The findings will be analyzed by the National Trust’s heritage tourism division and also used to supplement the work of a rural resource team that recently toured the project area, made up of representatives from the National Trust, the American Farmland Trust and the Center for Community and Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin.
“This team of nationally known experts recognized the ground-breaking potential of the initiative, particularly the importance of undertaking a comprehensive survey to serve as the foundation for the project,” said David L. Morgan, Heritage Council executive director and state historic preservation officer. “It’s a critical first step to preservation, planning for quality development and conserving farmland, and these experts are very excited about the survey’s potential.”
Farnsworth and Ryall will first survey sites while driving rural roads, then property owners will be contacted individually by the survey team during door-to-door interviews. The survey work will conclude in July with a comprehensive report detailing the findings to follow in September 2007.
The survey grant was one of three awarded to Kentucky when the first round of Preserve America grants were announced by First Lady Laura Bush, Preserve America honorary chair, in March. Kentucky is the leading state in the Preserve America initiative with 64 designated communities, three neighborhoods and one historic district. All counties in the RHDI project area have at least one Preserve America Community, including Bardstown, Campbellsville, Danville, Greensburg, Harrodsburg, Hodgenville, Lebanon, Perryville and Springfield. According to Morgan, additional Preserve America funding will be sought to expand the survey to other counties in the RHDI region.
“We really hope the residents of Marion and Washington counties will assist the survey team by allowing and encouraging photographs of their property and by providing information such as documentation about their buildings or historic photos,” said Gary Crenshaw, Lebanon mayor.
"It is vitally important that we preserve our rural heritage. All too often structures, historic sites or other evidences of our past are destroyed without thought of future preservation. Let us use every tool at our disposal, whether it is actual preservation, pictures, written word or oral history, to preserve our past," said Marion County Judge-Executive David R. Hourigan.
Because of the Heritage Council’s early emphasis on surveying historic resources throughout the state, Kentucky now has the fourth highest number of National Register listings in the nation, with nearly 3,200 listings of districts, sites and structures totaling more than 41,000 historic features. Administered by the National Park Service and state historic preservation offices, the National Register officially recognizes a property's archaeological, architectural or historical significance and provides a measure of protection against adverse impacts from federally funded projects.
For more information about the survey or how you can help, call Rachel Kennedy, Heritage Council site identification manager and survey coordinator, 502-564-7005, ext. 134, or email email@example.com.
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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. www.heritage.ky.gov
Preservation Kentucky is a membership-based, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Kentucky’s historic resources through education and advocacy. Preservation Kentucky provides an important link between the public and private sector and also helps monitor and promote preservation-friendly legislation at the local, state and federal levels. By working for the restoration and adaptive reuse of historic properties today, the economic benefits of historic preservation will help to safeguard the unique Kentucky landscape for future generations. www.preservationkentucky.org