Pennsylvania Historic Preservation

Blog of the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Office

Community Connections: What’s New?

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Its been a few months now since we introduced you to the Community Connections: Planning for Preservation in Pennsylvania campaign and I thought it was a good time for an update.  We’ve been making great progress over the summer and we have some exciting things coming up this fall.

As you may remember from this post, PA SHPO is leading the effort to develop Pennsylvania’s next statewide historic preservation plan.  Here’s what’s been going on…

Connecting with Communities for the Next Statewide Plan

Connecting with Communities for the Next Statewide Plan

It takes a village…

You know that old saying that it takes a village to raise a child?  Well, it also takes a village to develop a good statewide historic preservation plan.  In June, the Statewide Plan Task Force convened for the first time, which is a group of external advisors that includes some of Pennsylvania’s best and brightest historic preservation and planning leaders. Task Force members are:

Earlier this month we  sent out invitations to over 150 regional and statewide organizations and agencies to join us as a Planning Partner.  The response has been great so far!  We identified these potential Partners as those work often intersects with older and historic places in Pennsylvania at a significant regional or statewide level. We believe that it is critical to involve a broad and diverse audience in this public process and to hear from everyone whose programs or projects could have on impact on historic properties in our communities.  If you work with a regional or statewide entity that is concerned with the built environment and you haven’t heard from us, please get in touch!

This colorful graph tells us that we have heard from 66 of the 67 counties. Allegheny has the largest slice of the pie with 210 responses. We still need to hear from Fulton County!

This colorful graph tells us that we have heard from 66 of the 67 counties. Allegheny has the largest slice of the pie with 210 responses. We still need to hear from Fulton County!

You’re talking and we’re listening!

We have seen a great response to the online public survey.  As of lunchtime on Friday, September 16th, the number of responses is 2,433!   Realistically, this is still quite low considering that, in 2014, Pennsylvania’s population was 12.7 million people. However, we are very pleased that the survey numbers are higher than the last survey conducted in 2012, which came in around 2,200 responses.  There is still time to take it if you haven’t and to share it with friends, colleagues, and loved ones so you can all help put us over the 2,500 mark (or better!) before the survey closes in November.

Not one but two focus groups were held in June during the Statewide Conference on Heritage.  The first involved Preservation Pennsylvania’s Board of Directors and members of the Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Board.  One afternoon was not nearly long enough to talk about all the interesting and challenging preservation things happening in Pennsylvania lately!  Preservation Board members Jeff Slack, Suzanna Barucco, Sue Hannegan, and Rob Armstrong led the second focus group and used the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act as a springboard for a bigger discussion with the audience about the state of preservation today.  Both groups provided strong feedback that we’ll add to all the other feedback and research we’ve been collecting.

PA SHPO staffer Karen Arnold had a great time at the joint Boards focus group.

PA SHPO staffer Karen Arnold had a great time at the joint Boards focus group at the 2016 Statewide Conference.

Come talk to us!

Sometimes, nothing beats the personal connection that comes with talking to someone face-to-face.  That’s why we’d like to invite you to join us at one of the nine Open Houses the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) and Preservation Pennsylvania are hosting this fall throughout Pennsylvania to learn about and be part of the effort to develop Pennsylvania’s next statewide historic preservation plan.  Open Houses will be held in Boalsburg, Lancaster, Galeton, Erie, Scranton, Bethlehem, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Johnstown.

Beginning October 17th and going through November 30th, you can drop by any Open House between the hours of 3:30 and 7:30 and, if you’d like, stay for one of the scheduled one-hour discussions, led by Preservation Pennsylvania’s Executive Director Mindy Crawford or the PA SHPO’s Director Andrea MacDonald, at 4:00 or 6:30.  You can expect to meet PA SHPO staff, mingle with some of our local preservation partners, share your thoughts and opinions, and leave knowing you’re part of something bigger.

Keep an eye on your email, read our blog every week, and make sure you’re signed up for our newsletters for more details about specific dates and locations.  We should be releasing this key info in the next week or so.  If you’re not already signed up, simply go to www.pahistoricpreservation.com and fill in the Sign Me Up! screen.

Author: Shelby Weaver Splain

Shelby Weaver Splain is the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office. Shelby is a native of Bucks County and holds a Masters degree in Historic Preservation Planning from Cornell University and a Bachelor of Arts with Honors in Historic Preservation from Goucher College.

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