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How you can influence federal funding for local preservation

June 7, 2010

Know how federal funds directly help local preservation?  You can help increase that funding to help more New Jersey communities preserve historic places.

In 2001, Princeton Township received a Certified Local Government (CLG) grant through the New Jersey HPO and partnered with other neighboring communities to list a part of the Lincoln Highway on the National Register of Historic Places.  Burlington City and Middletown Township have conducted intensive surveys to inventory the historic buildings and places that make those communities unique, thanks to CLG Grant funding.  And Hopewell Township has published comprehensive design and preservation guidelines thanks to the same federal grant program.

These and scores of CLG grants are part of the federal Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), money that is passed from the federal preservation programs in the National Park Service to each state (in New Jersey, the HPO in the Dept. of Environmental Protection) and then granted competitively to qualified local preservation commissions for important preservation projects that help communities manage change.  And where does the federal money come from?

Offshore oil lease revenue.  The same source that provides millions of dollars to the Land & Water Conservation Fund, which supports parks and outdoor recreation programs.  Neither the Historic Preservation Fund nor the LWCF have ever been fully funded, in spite of the vast sums collected by the federal government from oil leases on offshore lands owned by the American taxpayer.   Earlier this year, President Obama  announced the America’s Great Outdoors (AGO) Initiative, a multi-agency effort to enhance conservation. Right now, the initiative is heavily influenced by our conservation friends, with broad support for fully funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund.   But historic preservation advocates have been working hard to put the HPF on the same footing as the LWCF in Congress and as part of the AGO Initiative.

CHANGE THE CONVERSATION in 10 seconds or less:  The Department of the Interior is hosting an online forum to contribute ideas and priorities for what should be included in the American’s Great Outdoors initiative. Full funding for the HPF has been submitted, but we need you to vote for it, and to contribute other ideas that include the HPF and cultural resources.  The website requires registration.  However it is free and simple.

  • Register in the top right corner
  • Search for “Historic Preservation Fund” It may also be found towards the bottom of the right hand column under “What’s Hot”
  • Click “Promote” next to Fully Fund the Historic Preservation Fund idea

Local commissions stand to benefit hugely from a dramatic increase in Historic Preservation Fund levels, so it is especially important for you to engage.  We encourage you to support the Fully Fund Coalition, joining Preservation New Jersey, the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions and more than 200 other organizations and tribes from across the country.  For more information, visit the Coalition website: www.fullyfundhpf.org.

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