Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus has directed the County’s Department of History to apply for the honor of being named a Preserve America Community. “As one of the green initiatives I announced in my 2007 State of the County address, I have asked Stan Mersand, our county historian, to seek the Preserve America Community designation for Dutchess County in support of the many projects that showcase our great history and preserve our nations’ heritage,” stated the County Executive.
Preserve America is a White House initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy 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 our communities. Mrs. Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States, is the Honorary Chair of Preserve America.
Preserve America Community designation recognizes a community for protecting and celebrating its heritage, using historic assets for economic development and community revitalization; and encouraging people to experience and appreciate local historic resources through education and heritage tourism programs. Designated communities have the opportunity to apply for over $10 million in 2007 in federal grants. These grants can be used to preserve not only buildings and historic sites, but also greenways, landscapes and heritage gardens. Steinhaus said, “Natural beauty is considered as much of our historic heritage as our buildings and other sites. The grants available to Preserve America Communities support a greener future by saving our natural heritage.”
Dutchess County’s Preserve America Community application will highlight the efforts of Dutchess Tourism, the County Department of History as well as many community educational programs. It will also highlight local towns such as Millbrook which have strong municipal laws and review agencies that protect not only history and heritage, but the environment as well.
“This designation will enable our economy, our ecology and most importantly, our residents to continue to become even more engaged in the process of heritage preservation and conservation,” concluded the County Executive.
The application must include an authorizing resolution adopted by the County Legislature. County Executive Steinhaus has submitted the resolution to the Dutchess County Legislature for consideration at its February meeting.