Change Starts Here: Preservation Priorities for President Obama

The parade is over and the balls are history: Barack Obama is officially the 44th President of the United States.

Just as it has with administrations from both parties for many years, the National Trust for Historic Preservation is eager to work with the Obama Administration on policies that protect and enhance our country’s irreplaceable historic resources, but we can’t do it without you.

From Main Street to your street, President Obama can provide leadership for strong and effective federal stewardship of our heritage that builds livable, sustainable and economically-viable communities while preserving our history for future generations.

As we continue to work with the new administration, we want to hear from you. Tell us which of the following action items have the biggest effects in your community, and then post comments with your own unique preservation stories and ideas.

Preservation and the Economy

Main Streets across the country – both urban commercial centers and rural downtowns – are struggling. President Obama should propose preservation-based economic development incentives, such as expanding the historic rehabilitation tax credit that created 40,000 new jobs last year and has, to date, leveraged over $45 billion in private investment and returned over 34,800 buildings to productive reuse.

Historic Preservation and Sustainability

As opposed to new construction, preservation responsibly conserves the built environment, which is an effective tool for reducing carbon emissions, combating climate change, and saving money on energy bills. President Obama should support measures that provide strong incentives to reuse and retrofit existing homes and buildings, recycle materials, increase building efficiency and maximize inherent environmental benefits.

Historic Preservation and Natural Disaster Relief and Preparedness

Devastating natural disasters have damaged historic structures and communities in the Gulf Coast and the Midwest. Because natural disasters have an immediate and widespread effect on historic properties, President Obama should develop a preparedness plan including a proactive, comprehensive survey of disaster-prone historic resources as well as addressing urgent response and recovery.

Historic Preservation and Transportation Policies

Transportation and preservation share a common goal to create better lives for Americans. As Congress prepares to reauthorize our nation's transportation programs, President Obama should continue to fund transportation enhancements and propose policies that support preservation-based approaches to strengthening our nation's transportation resources, such as the reuse of existing infrastructure in older and historic communities.

Historic Preservation and Public Land

A variety of threats, including insufficient historic and archeological survey information, expose millions of acres of public land to vandalism, destruction and neglect. President Obama should provide agency-wide leadership to responsibly manage historic and cultural resources on public lands.

Historic Preservation and Federal Stewardship

The federal government funds the national historic preservation program and provides critical leadership among its agencies to care for historic resources. President Obama should propose full funding to protect our heritage, and ensure that preservation reviews take place in the earliest phases of project development, not as an afterthought.


This story is closed to new comments.

Submitted by preservation contractor at: November 6, 2008
It is good to stimulate the economy by funding preservation projects and in turn stumulate the economy.

Submitted by Archie at: November 6, 2008
Offer federally guaranteed loans to individuals for tax-act renovations similar to GSL programs for education . Commercial banks are reluctant to lend on State and National Register properties because their options for resale should a default occur are reduced. I had to obtain funds to "mothball" never mind restore an 1820 farm in Virginia by refinancing my primary residence in New York!

Submitted by Betty at: November 6, 2008
As the president of a community (Edgewater, in Chicago) historical society & museum, we are very interested in the preservation of older and historically relevant buildings in our area. Developers were tearing down to put up multi-family structures that did not fit the neighborhood. This was before the economic fall. Now they are less likely to build. We need to preserve what was important and beautiful in our area - and make it so again.

Submitted by Hopeful at: November 6, 2008
Let's push for full funding for the National Park Service. They are limping along!

Submitted by MrPolicy2u at: November 6, 2008
Reinvest in existing infrastructure, which is by default investment in historic resources. Will aid historic preservation, preserve working farmland, and open space.

Submitted by Anonymous at: November 6, 2008
The change Obama promises demonstrates lack of concern for history. The redistribution of wealth will leave nothing for historic preservation. If there is any private money left, that will be the best source of hope and support for the National Trust.

Submitted by Pat at: November 6, 2008
Sustainability is important especially now to save the heritage of our country and stewardship is a given that we've lacked for 8 yrs.

Submitted by Star Princess at: November 6, 2008
1. We have to bring preservation down to the individual level. Support tax incentives for homeowners who undertake preservation measures of their historic buildings. If people begin to take care of their own structures they will gain a better appreciation of those historic buildings, etc. around them. 2. Advocate that gov't agencies stop the new campaign to "plan" for the demolition of historic structures all in the name of "lack of funding". It used to be done by neglect - now it is being planned. This is especially true within the NPS (see Deleware River NRA and Gateway NRA). 3. Support programs that promote the use of historic preservation expertise. Decisions are made every day, at every level by people who have no idea what they are talking about. 4. Help to get politics and for-profits out of federal agency preservation programs.

Submitted by SRM at: November 6, 2008
Working in small mid-western towns and cities, sometimes historic assets are the closest to the heart. the green issues, the economic issues, and the preservation issues are all intertwined. It's all relevant.

Submitted by jk at: November 6, 2008
Historic preservation need to include/return to individual needs who, collectively make up historic comunities rather than allowing/encouraging local govs to use eminent domain and other pressures to TAKE historic properties for economic and discriminatory gains.

Submitted by Lynn at: November 6, 2008
I know the economy is on everyone's mind, putting preservation on the back burner so to speak. People need to know that in the long run saving these places can save money and bring a divided country together. You continue to have my support 100% Lynn Englund

Submitted by zerlina at: November 6, 2008
We don't need to muddy our preservation goals by getting involved with all of the "green" issues. There are other groups that are into that. Protect, Maintain, Renovate and Educate.

Submitted by Joseph at: November 6, 2008
Conservation and Preservation are essential to National, and Global Survival.

Submitted by TQ at: November 6, 2008
I've taken the two most important and realistic preservation priorities.

Submitted by Cramden at: November 5, 2008
Corporations are the source of sustaining and recycling things of yesteryear. The Government is printing money as fast the presses will allow. Taxes will rise higher for everyone as the wealth distribution continues in our nation. Checkout the NPCA web page Tax write-offs for the corporations, great advertising, and potential money for The Trust. Change, Change, Change. Quit operating the trust like a government institution.

Submitted by The Green Bee at: November 5, 2008
Preservation of places and their history is an important character test. We cannot be a serious-minded, deeply grounded people without our history. Obama, more than any recent national leader, seems to understand this -- and it is part of his appeal, IMHO. At the same time, we cannot keep shaking a broken federal piggy-bank. We need to lever federal laws, moral suasion, communications capabilities, and some recycled taxpayers' cash to provide leadership to other parties, to round out the resources we need to do the best job we can afford at this time. We need the feds to make strategic choices across a broad portfolio of needs -- and then to empower others to do the rest of the job. What can we do to encourage the construction of more new works that as so well done they will become heritage structures in a few generations? How do we create incentives that say we value quality and durability?

Submitted by Anonymous at: November 5, 2008
All these priorities are intertwined. I hope that more federal grants will become available to communities throughout the USA to preserve historic structures that are still in use. I would like to see special funding for incorporating ADA accessibility in historic structures in local communities, such as churches.

Submitted by Left Coast Geezer at: November 5, 2008
Gee, what planet are you living on, Renee? The same one in which the federal government spent $3 trillion last year? Are you saying that once we extract from Iraq, there is no money left to manage the resources at home? There are many facts I could spew to show why federal breaks increase money for local governments, but let me summarize one. Once a private house has been restored to the point it can be listed on the National, state or local register, it drives the property value up 16% and all houses that sell within 500-feet also go up 16%. This increases property values and property taxes for local governments, not to mention helping the neighbors get more money for their investment. And you know what? People who get landmark status actually fix up their homes and serve as a catalyst for their neighbors to fix up their homes, water the lawns, and bootstrap their local building community. That is the planet on which I live.

Submitted by MO! at: November 5, 2008
Historic buildings have character! Newer buildings only strive to embrace that character. Historic buildings (commercial and residential) were built with longivity in mind. they have stood the test of time, but now many need a facelift. Newer buildings generally are built with the idea that pre-fab will do! The skill and craftsmanship used in the construction of historic places is long removed from today's construction methods. Granted,there have been some improvement, electricity, water heaters, etc., but the craftsmanship of fine architectural lines is a dying art. PRESERVATION! Maintain history for our children, grandchildren and generations to come! Educate the public about the need and preserve our hertiage. Thank you.

Submitted by Anonymous at: November 5, 2008
Historic preservation is an important part of our heritage and needs to be recoginized and supported financially as much is possiblt

Items 121 - 140 of 206  Previous12345678910Next