Heritage Tourism Development

Delphi  Preservation Society (IN)

 

If you preserve it, will they come?

Part 1

by

Jacqueline L. Evans

Historic preservation has become the focus of many communities across the country as they struggle to regain their past by restoring older homes, buildings, and other artifacts significant to their history.
The reconstruction of historical homes is probably the most familiar form of restoration as individual homeowners acquire older properties and return them to their original condition to be used as private residences or, in some cases, bed and breakfast  accommodations.
It is usually when communities seek to restore non-residential buildings that problems develop.
They gather the necessary community support and everyone is excited by the completed project only to see their efforts go for naught later on when they do not have the financial wherewithal to preserve and maintain the project that they have worked so hard to reclaim. They get so carried away in their excitement and enthusiasm for the restoration that they forget about how much it is going to cost to keep it up in terms of meeting codes, utilities, insurance, security and general maintenance and repairs.
The lesson to be learned is that preservation simply for the sake of preservation is not enough.  Either the long-term upkeep for every project should be factored into the cost so that funds are always available, or every restoration should be designed to be revenue-generating from the beginning so that it is always self-sustaining.
There is nothing more discouraging for communities than to have to continually raise funds to support projects they thought had been paid for a long time ago but which have become a constant drain on their energy and resources.  Sound preservation requires careful planning to be self-sustaining – it cannot be just another pretty picture.
Now, the question is:  Does the average tourist wait to visit an historical building, a community, a district, or a main street until it has been registered by The National Trust for Historic Preservation?  The answer is, NO!   They are impatient and want as much information now during the progress of preservation!
Part 2
“If you preserve it, will they come?” will tell you why
waiting for this sanction could kill every good intention your developers have.

Delphi Preservation Society (IN)

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