We launched Texas’ Statewide Preservation Plan at the 2011 Annual Historic Preservation Conference in Austin on March 31-April 2. Conference activities––tours, sessions, and workshops––mirrored goals and outcomes within the Statewide Preservation Plan. Make sure and check out the presentations and resources from the conference. We discussed ways to implement the plan’s ideas, built knowledge and expertise on key goals, and shared ideas and projects with each other. Plus, we hosted two forums for everyone to get to know the plan better and contribute to it:
- A Statewide Preservation Plan Salon on Friday, April 1, to meet session presenters, network with colleagues and staff, and delve deeper into conference content as it relates to the plan.
- A demonstration table on how to navigate the plan online and how to submit local case studies to the website.
Nine communities across the state hosted public planning forums during the summer of 2010 with more than 250 stakeholders attending. We heard their feedback on the draft vision and goals, shared local success stories and solutions and developed community applications for the plan. These meetings were in locations that represented the diverse geographic regions of Texas: Canyon, Canton, Beaumont, El Paso, Alpine, Brownsville, San Angelo, Austin, and our first web-based planning forum in Nacogdoches. We are grateful to our many partners who hosted these forums, including County Historical Commissions, Main Street Programs, Texas Heritage Trail Regions, universities, museums and city preservation offices. See below for a full list of the public forums and their hosts.
Stakeholders at these meetings represented a broad base of interests, organizations and agencies, a sampling of which included local County Historical Commissions, city landmark commissions and staff, Main Street programs and economic development organizations, museums, genealogical societies, staff from the National Park Service, staff from Texas Parks and Wildlife, architects, archeologists, planners, historians, tourism professionals, professors and students, local preservation advocacy organizations, arts organizations, the Texas Governor’s Office, interested residents, staff from the Mexican Consulate, and elected officials including mayors, judges, county commissioners, state Senators and Representatives.
Each forum began with the local host presenting a community preservation success story that could serve as a case study for one of the goals of the plan. A few examples of these cases studies include:
- In Austin, the Travis County Historical Commission and Hicks and Company (a local environmental consulting firm) presented their recently completed Historic Resource Survey of Northeast Travis County, which focused predominantly on rural resources and cultural landscapes, illustrating the importance of the survey and cultural landscape goals.
- In Canyon, the Canyon Main Street Program presented the full restoration of the Randall County Courthouse and its role as anchor of a revitalized downtown and courthouse square, emphasizing historic preservation and the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program as an economic development tool.
- In Brownsville, the Gorgas Science Foundation presented the restoration of the Alonso Building and its role in revitalizing the surrounding neighborhood. This case study emphasized the importance of creating partnerships that reach across disciplines. In this case, the Gorgas Science Foundation connected their mission of ecological conservation with preserving the historic built environment, which has resulted in many successful restoration projects in Cameron County. They have now developed a program teaching the craft of building restoration to building trades students at the University of Texas as Brownsville.
- In El Paso, the El Paso County Historical Commission presented their work, in partnership with the Concordia Heritage Association and the Chinese Benevolent Society, to preserve and enhance the historic Chinese Section of Concordia Cemetery, articulating the cultural landscape goal as well as the value of cultural diversity.
Participants at each meeting discussed the draft elements of the plan, and then worked individually and in small teams to brainstorm success stories and develop local implementation ideas for each goal that was shared with the larger group. All the forums concluded with stakeholders voting on the goals that were highest priority. These meetings were brought to life through video testimonials of participants.
Thank you to everyone who participated and especially to all of our local hosts for sponsoring these meetings. We could not have done this without you! Our meeting schedule included:
Canyon, Randall County
May 20, 2010
1:30 – 4pm
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
Hosts: Canyon Main Street Program and Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
Canton, Van Zandt County
May 25, 2010
1:30 – 4pm
Canton Plaza Museum
Host: Canton Main Street Program
Beaumont, Jefferson County
June 15, 2010
1:30 – 4pm
Jefferson County Courthouse
Host: Jefferson County Historical Commission
El Paso, El Paso County
June 28, 2010
El Paso Museum of History
Host: El Paso County Historical Commission
Alpine, Brewster County
June 29, 2010
Museum of the Big Bend
Sul Ross State University
June 30, 2010
10am – 12:30pm
Morgan University Center
Espino Room, 2nd Floor
Sul Ross State University
Host: Museum of the Big Bend and Brewster County Historical Commission
Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County
Deep East Texas Web Planning Forum
July 8, 2010
Stephen F Austin State University, College of Education Annex
Hosts: Stephen F. Austin State University and Texas Forest Trail Region
Brownsville, Cameron County
July 15, 2010
The Alonso Building: Gorgas Science Foundation, Inc.
Hosts: City of Brownsville Historic Preservation Office, Brownsville Historical Association and Gorgas Science Foundation, Inc.
San Angelo, Tom Green County
July 22, 2010
1:30 – 4pm
Host: Tom Green County Historical Commission
Austin, Travis County
July 28, 2010
Austin History Center