3 Communities in Arkansas Among New Preserve America Designations
Benton, Pocahontas, and Texarkana Designated as Arkansas Preserve America Communities
WASHINGTON, D.C.—First Preserve America Community and Stewards Designations under Obama Administration are Official
Mrs. Michelle Obama, First Lady of the United States, has designated the first 26 Preserve America Communities and first two Preserve America Steward programs recognized under the Obama Administration.
The designations are the first since President Obama signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 on March 30, which incorporated significant aspects of the Preserve America program into the national historic preservation infrastructure. The Preserve America program seeks to actively involve Americans in preserving America's heritage and increasing the positive economic, educational, environmental, and cultural benefits of preservation to their communities.
The 26 community designations bring to 762 the total number of designations since the program's inception in 2003. The two stewardship designations bring the national total of recognized efforts under Preserve America to 13.
Benton, Pocahontas, and Texarkana are among the 26 newest Preserve America Communities in 19 states; this brings the number of Preserve America Communities in Arkansas to 19. Benton began as a settlement in 1833 and is home to the only known structure made of bauxite blocks, dating to 1893. Pocahontas’ founder arrived via the Black River in 1817; the city played a role in the Civil War and the Great Black River Pearl Rush in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Texarkana was founded as a railroad town in 1873 and has a rich musical heritage that is celebrated each October. For more information on each community, visit http://www.preserveamerica.gov/PAcommunities.html
The Preserve America program seeks to better fulfill the goals of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 through renewed emphasis in involving Americans in local activities that preserve and appropriately utilize heritage assets through partnerships with federal agencies, state governments, local governments, schools, preservation organizations, and the private sector.
“Sustainable historic preservation is a wise investment in the future, not a cost for maintaining the past. Communities and the nation receive significant economic, educational, and cultural benefits, including heritage tourism, in return for their preservation efforts,” said John L. Nau, III, chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, which administers Preserve America programs for the White House in cooperation with the Department of the Interior.
The White House is working with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Transportation, the General Services Administration, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities to implement Preserve America. For more information about the initiative and its programs, visit www.preserveamerica.gov.
Preserve America Communities are eligible for Preserve America grants; since 2006, nearly $17 million in Preserve America Grants have been awarded to support community efforts to demonstrate sustainable uses of their historic and cultural sites, focusing on the economic and educational opportunities related to heritage tourism. Over $1million in Preserve America grants has been awarded to Arkansas communities. The grants of $20,000 to $250,000 are awarded on a competitive, matching fund basis to help communities develop sustainable management strategies and sound business practices for the continued preservation and use of their heritage assets. The grants support research, planning, marketing, interpretation, and training efforts.
The Arkansas Preserve America Community Agent program in Arkansas is the first of its kind in the country and represents a partnership between the federal Preserve America initiative, the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, and the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism. For more information on the Preserve America Program in Arkansas, contact Rhea Roberts at 501-372-4757, email@example.com, or visit www.preservearkansas.org.
The Preserve America Program in Arkansas is housed in the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas, the only statewide non-profit preservation organization dedicated to saving Arkansas's architectural and cultural heritage. For more information about the Alliance, contact 501-372-4757, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.preservearkansas.org.