2020 Greater Erie Award for Education and Advocacy
Preservation Erie is pleased to present a 2020 Greater Erie Award in the category of Education and Advocacy to the Mayor’s Office and Erie City Council for the creation of the Historic Preservation Task Force. The Education and Advocacy Award acknowledges the work of local photographers, authors, community advocates, non-building related projects, and others who are helping to raise awareness of historic preservation.
The purpose of the City of Erie Historic Preservation Task Force is in accordance with Erie City Council’s Resolution Number 132-301-C, which council approved on March 20, 2019. Through this resolution, it was established that the Task Force shall work within a 24-month time frame to study, analyze, and develop a historic preservation plan for the City of Erie that will identify community supported goals for preservation, identify policy recommendations, and funding opportunities that will be presented to the Planning Commission for review and recommendation to City Council and the Mayor.
Task Force members, who were appointed by the Mayor and Erie City Council, include David Brennan (Chair), Emily Aloiz (Secretary), Melissa Hake, Elizabeth Kelly, Melinda Meyer (Vice Chair), Chuck Scalise, and Mark Steg.
The Task Force is currently 12 months into its 24-month term of crafting a holistic approach to maintaining and preserving buildings within the city that are deemed historically or architecturally significant. Members worked in partnership with Planning Director Kathy Wyrosdick to develop the following goals for the Task Force:
- Study, analyze, and develop a historic preservation plan.
- Identify community-supported goals for historic preservation.
- Identify policy recommendations and funding opportunities.
- Work with the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office to help guide our strategy.
- Work with the City of Erie Planning Commission to review and make recommendations to Council.
- Create a standing Historic Review Commission (HRC) which will be critical to the success of a historic preservation initiative for Erie.
- Establish a formalized process that will help preserve the city’s historic assets, which is essential to becoming a Certified Local Government (CLG). CLG status will help bring needed resources in terms of funding and technical assistance to Erie’s historic preservation process.
Ultimately, the intent is for the Task Force to establish policies and processes aimed at preserving the character of the historic built environment of the city. With practical and creative use of historic and cultural heritage assets, these resources can be springboards to improving the economy, the environment, and the quality of life across the city.
Based on the experiences of preservation programs undertaken in other parts of Pennsylvania and around the nation, one thing is certain. When historic preservation planning is integrated with larger community and economic development initiatives, preservation is seen as a sign of faith and confidence in a community’s future. These resources also convey a sense of longevity and permanency that new construction can fail to provide.
The time has come to make decisions about how, and if, the City of Erie’s past is important to its future; and, to determine what is important to save and what is bearable to lose. For this reason, there is great need to forge ahead with a comprehensive citywide strategy for historic preservation.