At the commencement of the 21st century, we as Americans are losing our intriguing historic properties at an alarming rate. Original structures are being torn down in favor of new construction, such as shopping malls and subdivisions. Generic construction reduces the sense of place one has in a community and takes away from the unique culture of an area. Communities must add historic preservation ordinances to their municipal codes to maintain structures and to preserve, promote, and improve historic resources and districts. Historic preservation can have major implications for communities, making it possible for them to capitalize on local culture and to combat urban decay. The ordinances can be customized for individual communities, and are an ideal tool to foster economic development, increase tourism revenue and allow municipalities to take advantage of tax incentives from all levels of government. Municipal ordinances can also be used to regulate actions taken on private property, which prevents the well-being of the community from suffering at the whim of one selfish owner. Various examples from states with strong traditions of historic preservation show that these ordinances provide a viable alternative to new construction and a way for communities to redevelop and find success.
Jessica Lynne Rundlett, ’07 Vinton, IA
Majors: Politics, History, International Business
Sponsor: Craig Allin