Poughkeepsie, NY… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus is pleased to announce Dutchess County has been honored by First Lady Laura Bush, Honorary Chair of the Preserve America initiative, when she designated Dutchess County as one of the nation’s newest Preserve America Communities.
County Executive Steinhaus first announced Dutchess County would seek a Preserve America designation in January during his 2007 State of the County Address as part of his “Dutchess Goes Green” agenda.
“We take great pride in Dutchess County’s rich historic heritage. It is a great honor to be named a Preserve America Community and have Dutchess County nationally recognized for our continued efforts to preserve a rich quality of life for our community,” said County Executive Steinhaus.
The Preserve America initiative is a White House 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.
The Preserve America community designation program, combined with the Preserve America Grant Program, Preserve America Presidential Awards, and other federal support, provides strong incentives for continued preservation of cultural and natural heritage resources. Dutchess County’s designation as a Preserve America Community means the County will be eligible for Preserve America grants and a listing in a Web-based directory showcasing the Dutchess preservation efforts and heritage tourism destinations. As a Preserve America Community, Dutchess County will also be in National Register Travel Itineraries and in “Teaching with Historic Places” curricular materials created by the National Park Service.
In 2006, Preserve America grants totaling nearly $5 million were awarded to 68 projects around the country. Nearly $5 million will be awarded in 2007, as well. President Bush’s fiscal year 2008 budget requests $10 million in grant funds for which designated Preserve America communities may apply. Grants of $20,000 to $150,000 are awarded on a competitive, matching fund basis to help communities develop sustainable management strategies and sound business practices for the continued preservation and use of their heritage assets. The grants support research, planning, marketing, interpretation, and training efforts.
Preserve America grants can be used to preserve greenways, landscapes and heritage gardens to protect communities’ natural beauty. Executive Steinhaus directed County Historian Stan Mersand to complete the application and seek the designation. Mr. Mersand said, “This is great news for all of the residents of Dutchess County as we are now in a better position to seek and receive grants and additional federal money for our historic heritage and tourism programs.”
“The Preserve America Community designation is truly a wonderful achievement. It highlights all of the hard work and effort we have put into protecting and preserving our rich heritage. It also provides us new opportunities to create a greener future for the next generations,” concluded Steinhaus.