Commission Staff Attend Preservation Advocacy Week in Washington, DC
Three staff from the Tennessee Historical Commission/Tennessee State Historic Preservation Office headed to Washington D.C. in March for the first in-person Preservation Advocacy Week since 2020. The group included Patrick McIntyre, Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Officer; Justin Heskew, Federal Historic Tax Credit Reviewer and Federal Programs Supervisor, and Casey Lee, Section 106 Co-Coordinator. For McIntyre, this marked the 20th anniversary of his first time participating in this annual gathering. Preservation Advocacy Week is a chance for preservation professionals across the nation to come together and learn about legislation that could affect preservation programs, specifically programs administered through State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs). These professionals then get the opportunity to connect with their state representatives in D.C. and staff from their representative’s offices to discuss legislation that benefits historic preservation, including how the Federal Historic Preservation Fund is used in Tennessee.
This Preservation Advocacy Week, several issues were highlighted, and those advocating emphasized the following:
- That the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) be reauthorized permanently at an increased rate of at least $300 million to ensure that federal funds to State Historic Preservation Offices, Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, and federal grants continue to ensure successful preservation projects. Tennessee uses almost all of our allocated Historic Preservation Funds to directly fund preservation projects throughout the state, directly affecting and supporting Tennessee communities.
- That our state representatives support the Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act (HTC-GO). The Historic Tax Credit is a successful program that spurs preservation projects through rehabilitations of historic properties by providing owners with a tax credit for projects that successfully go through the tax credit process. This program generates more in tax revenue than the program costs by providing the credits. Since its inception, the historic tax credit program has helped rehabilitate over 47,000 buildings, has created nearly 3 million jobs, and produced over 185,000 low-moderate income affordable housing units, often in economically distressed areas. HTC-GO would make the program even more successful by making it possible for smaller projects to benefit from the historic tax credit, and it would eliminate the requirement that the value of the HTC must be deducted from a building’s basis.
- That our state Congressional representatives join the Historic Preservation Caucus, a bipartisan caucus that serves as a forum for members to work together to support preservation of America’s historic resources and economic revitalization of America’s communities.
The Tennessee Historical Commission staff had a successful preservation advocacy week with fellow members of their Tennessee contingent which included other preservation professionals from Tennessee: Phil Thomason and Kim Trent from the Tennessee Preservation Trust, and Jocelyn Imani. They met with all representatives or staff for all representatives to discuss and advocate for federal preservation actions that would benefit preservation and economic revitalization in Tennessee and help preserve Tennessee’s rich history.
To learn more about preservation advocacy week, click here.