Historic Preservation is a Proven Economic Driver and Critical Tool for Downtown and Neighborhood Revitalization
Preservation Kentucky led the charge in 2005 to establish a state historic preservation tax credit to incentivize the rehabilitation of historic commercial and residential buildings in all 120 counties. This credit has been responsible for saving hundreds of historic buildings, placing them into service and back on the tax rolls, and leveraging millions in private revitalization spending.
Since the Kentucky historic tax credit was signed into law:
Kentucky has the fourth highest number of National Register listings with more than 3,200 districts, sites and structures encompassing more than 42,000 historic features – a success managed by our state partner, the Kentucky Heritage Council, along with the Kentucky Historic Resources Inventory of more than 100,000 sites.
The economic and community impact of Kentucky’s Main Street Program has been effective, especially in rural and small towns. In 2016, Main Street communities contributed $100 million to our economy with more than $75 million in private investment, matched by $30.9 million in improvements. In 2016, they reported 1,452 new jobs, 234 new businesses, 81 new downtown housing unites, 198 building rehabilitation projects, and $51,433,241 in rehabilitation investment.
Equally important is the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program. In Kentucky, between 2001-2016, the federal HTC:
by Betsy Hatfield, Executive Director, Preservation Kentucky
Placemaking – the management of our spaces, our inspirations and the assets that make our communities special and contribute to our health, happiness and well-being.
Kentucky’s historic architecture is as rich in diversity, style, form and function as the topography that has helped shape it. From the Appalachian Mountains, hilly Pennyroyal and Cumberland Plateau, to the Western Coal Fields, Jackson Purchase and the Bluegrass – the natural beauty of our mountains, meadows, forests, woodlands, waterways and geological formations have provided the setting for some of the country’s most beautiful, interesting and historic places.
Our communities are equally as diverse and tell our varied stories. River cities, coal mining camps, farmsteads, rural towns, hamlets, railroad villages, Main Streets, courthouse squares, urban neighborhoods and metropolitan downtowns – all with their own personality and sense of place.
Practically every style of American architecture is represented in Kentucky’s built environment: Federal farmhouses, shotgun houses, Georgian and Greek Revival mansions, log cabins, stucco bungalows, cast iron and brick Victorian warehouses, colonial cottages, classical stone buildings – all visible reminders of what distinguishes us, shapes our history, influences our qualify of life and inspires our collective, community spaces.
How we protect our historic buildings, prehistoric places and landscapes is placemaking.
The National Trust’s This Place Matters campaign, created in 2008 as a way for people to shine a spotlight on the historic places that play a role in their lives, is especially meaningful as we’ve recorded more than 50 years of preservation progress since the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the milestone legislation that officially galvanized our country into action with national placemaking to legally, consciously and collectively preserve our historic places.
It’s also been more than 50 years since the formation of our state partner, the Kentucky Heritage Council, the government agency that has been statewide placemaking, assisting individuals, communities and local governments in making historic preservation an important component of comprehensive community planning.
Daniel Boone said ” Heaven must be a Kentucky kind of place.” Jesse Stuart called Kentucky the heart of America. We call Kentucky home. All who live, work and visit here experience the treasures, the assets, the places we value, and the places that define us. Places that need protecting.
Why We Preserve: Demystifying Historic Preservation, with Daniel Vivian, PhD, Public History Professor, University of Louisville
Why Preservation is Important for Economic Development, with Joseph Klare, MBA, Director of Real Estate Finance and Investment, The Catalytic Fund
How to Apply for a Kentucky Fund Grant, with Diana Maxwell, National Trust for Historic Preservation