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President’s Budget proposal abolishes Save America’s Treasures

February 2, 2010

The 1722 Abel Nicholson House, Salem County, is a remarkably intact Quaker "Pattern Brick" House, a National Historic Landmark and recipient of a vital Save America's Treasures grant to help stem water infiltration and stabilize the house. Important preservation projects like this one will not be possible if SAT grants are abolished.

Shockingly, President Obama’s budget proposal, released yesterday, eliminates entirely the Save America’s Treasures (SAT) and Preserve America grant programs and cuts the National Heritage Areas funding by 50%.  These proven job-creating, economy-stimulating programs have leveraged hundreds of millions of private investment dollars and played a large part in saving more than 700 of the nation’s most important historic places.  In New Jersey, Ellis Island, Stickley’s Craftsman Farms, Thomas Edison’s Invention Factory, the Hackensack Water Works and the Abel Nicholson Study House are a few of the SAT-funded projects that have jump-started the state’s heritage tourism economy, and created skilled construction and permanent jobs.

Most oddly, the Administration’s blog states that the programs were, “… started to mark the millennium and (were) supposed to last for two years. Both programs lack rigorous performance metrics and evaluation efforts so the benefits are unclear.”  The thousands of people from all over the world who visit Ellis Island each year can certainly attest to the benefits they derive from being able to visit that important historic place!  And the hundreds of construction, architectural, planning and other related professionals who worked on all the SAT-funded projects in New Jersey and spent their hard earned dollars in the New Jersey economy could speak pretty eloquently about the benefits gained from the statistically insignificant (in the federal budget) but nevertheless important economic benefits of the SAT program.

Restoration at Ellis Island has depended on Save America's Treasures funding

Posts comments here with stories about SAT-funded projects in New Jersey, and about critical preservation projects that are planned and need funding.

It’s time to send a strong message to our Congressional delegation that this is not the time to dismantle proven economic generators like Save America’s Treasures, which protect cherished historic places that tell the nation who we are and where we came from, especially in this time of job losses and economic crisis.  Join PNJ and friends in Washington D.C. for Preservation Lobby Day on March 3.  E-mail info@preservationnj.org for information about how you can help lobby Congress.

More information from the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Stickley's Craftsman Farms has also received critical restoration funding from SAT

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2010 10:01 am

    Quantify, quantify, quantify. Without stats about job creation benefits or investment vs disinvestment potential or leveraging factors, we will not get our message across, not just to the number crunchers in Congress but to the Planning Boards and City Councils of our own communities.

  2. February 4, 2010 11:00 am

    Check out: http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/treasures/search.htm for a listing of all the SAT funded projects in New Jersey. You can also obtain a full list of Preserve America-funded projects here: http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/hpg/preserveamerica/search.htm.

  3. Mitch Brown permalink
    February 17, 2010 2:37 am

    Check out Rutger’s CUPR – Center for Urban Policy Research for some HPRES related studies.

    Congressional Budget Office did studies regarding Heritage Areas. Granted, nothing came out statistically, but at least CBO’s study showed no adverse effects.

    There may be some additional studies reflecting new scholarship. CUPR does good work.

  4. March 17, 2010 3:23 pm

    Examining further the so-called “termination language” in the President’s budget proposal, we learn that they believe by eliminating these historic preservation programs, it would enable the National Park Service to “focus resources on managing national parks and other activities that most closely align with its core mission.”

    When was conservation and stewardship of historic resources NOT part of the Park Service’s core mission? Where is this coming from? The President’s people, or NPS staff who don’t want to be bothered anymore?

  5. March 23, 2010 11:47 am

    New Jerseyans continue to speak out in outrage: check out the letter to the editor that appeared in the Asbury Park Press on March 12: http://www.app.com/article/20100311/OPINION04/3120315/1032/Don-t-eliminate-funding-for-historic-preservation

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