The Community Initiative Award from the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) recognizes organizations, municipalities, agencies, individuals, and others whose work embodies the theme of Pennsylvania’s recently released statewide historic preservation plan, #PreservationHappensHere.

The 2018 awardees are the Walk In Art Center (Schuylkill County), Jefferson County History Center (Jefferson County), and Redbank Valley Trails Association (Clarion County).

What is #PreservAtionHappensHere?

#PreservationHappensHere is the idea that great preservation activities are happening every day across Pennsylvania. These activities may or, may not be thought of as historic preservation, nevertheless, need to be discovered, shared, and celebrated!

2018 Awardees

This year’s awardees are good stewards of the historic places and communities they care about. They are capitalizing on their strengths – using art, volunteerism, and recreation – to provide a framework to serve as case studies for others, and they showcase what’s possible by making connections between community, historic places, and people.

The Walk In Art Center (WAIC) is a nonprofit organization founded in the belief that art and culture can positively affect the lives of all.

WAIC in the former Walkin Shoe Factory, 2018.

Located two blocks from the Schuylkill River, WAIC is housed in the former Walkin Shoe Factory, a three-story factory built in 1887 in Schuylkill Haven, Schuylkill County.

The Jefferson County History Center, located in downtown Brookville, is focused not only on preserving and celebrating the history of Jefferson County but also on the rich archaeological heritage of the area.

Survey of Scripture Rocks.

The society has sponsored archaeology outreach programs and research in other towns and even beyond the borders of Jefferson County.  They received a 2018 Community Initiative Award for their work at Scripture Rocks.

Redbank Valley Trails Association (RVTA), in conjunction with the Allegheny Valley Land Trust, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, and the Clarion County Commissioners, is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to improve and maintain a 51-mile, four-season, nonmotorized recreational trail; promote preservation and protection of natural resources; and recognize historic sites along the corridor.

Climax Tunnel grand opening in 2018.

Since 2010, RVTA’s dedicated volunteers have improved nearly all 51 miles and continue to maintain the trail; stabilized the Climax Tunnel; improved 17 of 19 bridges; added parking and restroom facilities, signage, and creek access; and installed educational panels about sites of historic significance, many about former natural resource-based industries along the corridor.


PA SHPO presented these three awards to representatives from each group in Harrisburg on October 3, 2018 as part of Preservation PA’s statewide historic preservation awards.