Local Team of Historic Preservation Experts to Visit Luling

LULING —  A team of experts in the Main Street revitalization process will visit Luling August 10-11 to help the city and its Main Street Program with continuing efforts to enhance the community’s real and unique history and its special historic places. Through the visit, guidance will be provided for enhancing local downtown revitalization efforts and historic preservation activities.

The visit, which will include several opportunities for public input, is a result of a Preserve America assessment grant provided to the Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) Texas Main Street Program (TMSP) by the National Park Service. Preserve America is a federal initiative that supports community efforts to preserve cultural and natural heritage. Luling is receiving one of these assessments at no cost to the community because it holds designations as both an official Texas Main Street program and a Preserve America community. Luling has been both an official Texas Main Street and Preserve America community since 2003. Luling was one of the first cities in the country to receive Preserve America designation in 2003, the year of the debut of the national initiative. The Texas Main Street Program is 30 years old in 2011 and itself was one of the first six state Main Street coordinating programs in the country in 1981.

The team visiting Luling includes consultants Nick Kalogeresis of the Lakota Group, Chicago, IL., who will focus on Main Street economic development topics; architect Laurie Limbacher of Austin, who is also chair of Austin’s Historic Landmark Commission and will be covering Main Street design topics; and Stephanie Redman of ReSurge in Albuquerque, NM, who will focus on the organization and promotion points of Main Street. Other team members, representing the THC and TMSP include Debra Farst, Jill Robinson, April Garner, Wayne Bell and Leslie Wolfenden.  The team will begin the visit at 4 p.m. on August 10 with a public input meeting of Main Street stakeholders. This includes Main Street board and committee members, downtown property and business owners and city officials. Team members will provide a snapshot presentation of their findings at a community meeting on August 11 at 3 p.m. Both meetings are open to the public and will be held at the Oil Museum, 421 East Davis Street. A comprehensive workbook of findings based upon the assessment visit will be provided to the community at a later date.

Goals for the Preserve America program include a greater shared knowledge about the nation’s past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the country’s cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities. Since the program’s inception in 2003, the First Lady of the United States has served as the Honorary Chair of Preserve America. Today, there are 867 Preserve America communities nationwide. More information can be found at www.preserveamerica.gov.

The TMSP is a part of the Community Heritage Development Division of the Texas Historical Commission (THC), the state agency for historic preservation that facilitates efforts to tell the real stories of Texas. The TMSP is affiliated with the National Trust Main Street Center and was one of the first six state Main Street coordinating programs in the nation in 1981. For more information on the TMSP or the Luling site visit, contact Debra Farst, state coordinator, at debra.farst@thc.state.tx.us or 512/463-5758.  More information about the program and the THC can be found at www.thc.state.tx.us.

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