Role of the Government in the Historic Preservation Process Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Government in the Historic Preservation Process

The paper foregrounds the role of national, state and local government in the historic preservation process. It has 12 sources.

Historic preservation is taken up by smart governments in order to revitalize not only the structures but also the economy. The structures that assume historical value may bear more than just economic importance as they are also a form of national heritage. Therefore governments have the responsibility of taking measures to preserve the historic structures. To fulfill this responsibility, the government is given the authority to devise legislation for preservation. Further, the state governments should allow the local governments to participate in preservation efforts and build on these legislations.

Purpose statement

This paper studies the role of the government on a state and local level. The state government of Florida and the local government of Tallahassee (Florida) are specified for the study by the author. The paper firstly identifies the role of government in devising legislations regarding historical preservation. Next, it identifies the reasons why governments should be interested in historic preservation measures. This is followed by an overview of historical preservation efforts in the state of Florida. Later, a case study of Tallahassee, Florida is mentioned in regard to the preservation efforts keeping legislations that apply on the case study in view.

The Role Government

The historic preservation legislatives differ from state and local governments. There is not a definitive legislation that applies to all the levels of government in the United States. Usually these legislations are customized by (local) government to meet the particular community. This helps local governments tailor make legislations that suit the particular government. Thus there is inconsistency and ambiguity that surrounds historic preservation related legislations as to who should have the ultimate say in preservation measures.

Due to irregular historic preservation legislatives the legislation related role of governments can be broken down into two ultimate concerns, according to Abney (1998). Abney argues that 1) The legislative should be effective (means that the legislative should be able to protect the structures that need preservation), and 2) The legislatives should be able to withstand legal challenges (legislations should not contradict each other.) Abney thus outlines the concerns involved in making legislations foreground the real intent of legislations in historic structure preservation.

State governments are usually not involved in the regulations of historic structures. But they are forced to accept the legislations formulated by the Federal government and are required to enforce these policies. The legislative related role played by the state government although requires diverting the local governments towards adopting the appropriate historic preservation policies. The United State Constitution bestows upon state governments to delegate powers to local governments therefore the preservation of historic structures takes place at a local level. It is the local governments all over the United States that are responsible for driving laws for historic structure preservation. The Growth Management Act of 1985 (GMA) is one legislation that helps local governments to focus on preservation activities.

Government Interest in Historic Preservation

Historic structures may hold monumental value to the society due to historical worth associated with them. Preservation of these structures hence is a respectful notion by the government. Some historical structures bear architectural worth, making the preservation of these structures important.

Besides the historic and architectural concerns, the most worthy to governments is the economic benefits received by historic preservation. Designation of an area as historic increases the value of the property and increases reinvestment (Rypkema, 1997). According to the author, the employment of capital (by the government) into preservation helps create jobs within the economy (Rypkema, 1997). This further leads to a better quality of life as more finances are available within the economy ascribed by the aforementioned economic impacts.

All of these reasons serve as motivation for state and local governments to invest in preservation of historical structures.

Historical Preservation in Florida

The state of Florida has employed preservation efforts on a mass scale. This includes preservations of not only structures, but entire neighborhoods. The state government of Florida accomplishes this by marking as historical those areas which hold historical or architectural value.

All of the preservation efforts are carried out smoothly due to existence of a legislative infrastructure created by the state government. The state government of Florida delegates the power in local governments to tailor legislation according to the local government. The legislation is responsible for protecting the historic structures and their residents. The residents are also given financial exemptions (by the legislative infrastructure) and provisions to carry out preservation of the historic structures. The state's action for preservation is further complimented by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. This body has worked with the state government to educate about historic preservation by conducting workshops and seminars. In other words, preservation efforts are headed with awareness campaigns run by the government and associated bodies. This exhibits the role the Florida state government is playing in historic structure preservation.

The state government's role in preservation efforts is substantial. The role of government can be established by the investment made by the state into historical preservation. If the state government had not recognized the economic importance of historical preservation, no investment would have been made. This would have translated into no new creation of jobs in the state, and lower quality of life ascribed by less or no reinvestment. Thus, the importance of the role of the state government in historical preservation should not be minimized.

According to the Florida Historical Commission the economic impacts of historic preservation in Florida amounts up to 4.2 billion annually (Bense, Bense, Hernandez, Barnes, Deagan, Jackson, Littrell, McKeithen, Quina, Uguccioni, Williams, 2003). Besides the aforementioned economic benefits (mentioned under 'Government Interest in Historic Preservation') driving the preservation efforts in Florida, another factor that attributes to the economic impacts of preservation is tourism (McLendon and Klein, 2003).

Case Study of Tallahassee, Florida

The local government is responsible for designation an area as historical to be identified for preservation. If not identified as per responsibility, the historical areas are made vulnerable to impending damage and destruction. To study the role local government plays in historical preservation, we must read the case study of the South Monroe Area.

The South Monroe area in Tallahassee, Florida consisted of many historical resources. There was an architectural and historical survey conducted in 1997 which identified the number of historical buildings in the area. At the time of the conduction of the survey the South Monroe had not been marked as one bearing historical importance.

The survey revealed that out of 189 buildings, 120 of the buildings were fifty years old, or older. Also, many of the historical buildings were found to be commercial, bearing architectural or historical importance. This area was found to have a high architectural and historical importance. The survey recommended that the area be designated a historical district. This recommendation also encompassed the subdivisions in the district.

The historic designation of the area would have beneficial impacts for the owners of the property. The owners would receive preservation incentives and protection from incompatible development. (City of Tallahassee, 2001)

Legislations Applying on the Case Study

Taking the recommendation of the survey conducted in 1997 into consideration, a bill [C.B. 351, Series of 1997] was passed to classify the area of South Monroe in a different zone. This bill would ensure that the selected area in the South Monroe area be classified as a historic zone.


It is the responsibility of the state government to delegate historic preservation legislative power to local government. Local government customizes legislations to best suit local legislative requirement. Amongst other responsibilities of the government is to spread awareness about historic preservation, invest in preservation itself and provide incentives to owners of the historic structure.…

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