Since 1973, May has been designated as Preservation Month. Events are planned by the National Park Service, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and many statewide and local preservation organizations to encourage interest in historic preservation.
Historic tax credits (HTCs) are an excellent economic tool for private developers, local governments, and communities. But at their heart, historic tax credits are about preserving historic resources for future generations.
- HTCs require good stewardship. The core requirement of the HTC program is that projects must meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. These 10 standards guide every design review by state historic preservation offices and the National Park Service. Because of this, successful HTC projects have followed best-practices for rehabilitation, including the inclusion of historic materials and sensitive adaptations of interior spaces.
- HTC projects encourage new preservation. Once one historic rehabilitation is undertaken, it is almost guaranteed that others will follow. This is apparent on Main Streets, in former mill villages, and throughout disinvested urban neighborhoods. And the marketable success of these districts of preservation is also pollenated to other communities.
- HTC projects are essential to placemaking. Speaking of marketable success, historic preservation is often the center of placemaking efforts. By using existing resources and their historical commentary about the development of a community, historic buildings are often the cornerstone for new design and planning activities aimed at revitalizing economic activity.
Preservation is much more than HTC projects. But HTC projects are always preservation. Cultivating appreciation for our historic built environment is the mission of outstanding organizations around the country.
In May (and every other month), we encourage you to seek out ways to learn more about the history of your place and how you can support good preservation that is supporting your community.