First Lady Michelle Obama has designated Windsor as one of the nation’s newest Preserve America Communities.
“President Obama and I want to congratulate all of the Preserve America Communities and thank them for their commitment to protecting and strengthening America’s cultural and natural heritage,” said Mrs. Obama in a news release from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.
Windsor Mayor John Vázquez received a letter Feb. 4 about the honor and will receive a certificate of designation signed by Mrs. Obama announcing that Windsor is now a Preserve America Community.
“I had been working with our historic preservation commission over the last several months, and in the latter part of 2012, determining whether or not this was a designation that they were interested in and that other organizations within the town of Windsor, the (Downtown Development Authority) and the town board would be in support of,” said Carrie Knight, Art & Heritage manager for Windsor. “After gaining their support, we submitted the application for designation at the end of 2012, and we received notification in February that we had been selected as a Preserve America Community.”
Knight said the permanent designation establishes that a community has a commitment to preserving its heritage, its culture and, in part, its historic structures. Knight said Fort Collins and Greeley are also Preserve America Communities.
“The Preserve America program started really as an effort to preserve historic structures — structures that have cultural value within a community — and it moves forward to say what are also the events, what are the activities, what are the other ways in which your community is honoring its heritage,” Knight said.
According to the news release, communities designated through the program receive national recognition for their accomplishments in preserving special places and telling the nation’s story. Benefits include use of the Preserve America logo on educational and promotional materials; a community sign; listing in a web-based directory that showcases Windsor preservation efforts and heritage tourism destinations and other support.
“The road signs that will designate as such, we can include that logo on some of our promotional materials,” Knight said. “There are different educational resources that are available to both the historic preservation commission and DDA. If we do get appropriations from Congress for the program, there are grant opportunities, as well, for any kind of revitalization efforts, beautification, interpretation. There are grant opportunities available, however, unfortunately there have been no allocations over the last couple of years.”
Many Preserve America Communities are featured in “Discover Our Shared Heritage” National Register Travel Itineraries, as well as in the “Teaching With Historic Places” curricular materials created by the National Park Service.
The Preserve America program became an authorized part of the national historic preservation program when President Barack Obama signed the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 on March 30, 2009. Nearly 900 Preserve America Communities have been designated in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and two U.S. territories, including historic neighborhoods within large cities and tribal communities.
The Preserve America program is a federal effort to encourage and support community efforts to preserve and enjoy America’s priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the initiative 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 communities.
“I hope that the community sees it as a recognition that as our community changes and grows and we welcome that, we are also looking to preserve and embrace our past as well and the asset that is,” Knight said.
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation administers the Preserve America program with the Department of the Interior, in cooperation with the White House and 10 other federal agencies. For more information, visit www.achp.gov and www.preserveamerica.gov.