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23rd Annual RI Statewide Historic Preservation Conference

Saturday, 04/12/2008


The year 2008 marked the 40th anniversary of the Rhode Island Historic Preservation Act and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission. The 23rd Annual Rhode Island Statewide Historic Preservation Conference used the anniversary as a starting point to explore the past, present, and future of historic preservation in Rhode Island.

In 1968, the Rhode Island General Assembly enacted legislation that expanded on the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act. The RI Historical Preservation Commission was established to direct a staewide preservation program that identifies historic properties, reviews state and federal projects, and administers funds. Heritage Programs were added in 1994.

2008's Conference in Providence recalled past preservation achievements and focused on current critical issues, from environmental sustainability to economic development, affordable housing to heritage tourism. Attendees were able to choose a historic resource--schools and mills, neighborhoods and villages, farms and waterfronts, even Modern architecture--and pick up the latest strategies to guide future practice.

Tours featured historic neighborhoods around the Armory, Atwells, Broadway, Elmwood, and West Elmwood, where homeowners, non-profits, and developers have completed waves of revitalization and restoration projects. Visits to mill rehabs along the Woonasquatucket River gave attendees a glimpse of the city's most exciting artspaces. Plus, visitors could travel through time to sites of "preservation's greatest hits"--the Arcade, Masonic Temple, Benefit Street--and of its lost battles--Eagle Square, the Gorham Plant, and Wriston Quad.

On the West Side and throughout Rhode Island, historic preservation is a dynamic process. Thanks to all who joined us on Saturday, April 12, to explore the past, present, and future of historic preservation in Rhode Island.

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