From the Executive Director

Dear Members and Friends,

We are thankful for you and your generous support of Preserve Arkansas this year! You have enabled us to weather the challenges of this pandemic and look forward to a brighter 2021, when we will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Preserve Arkansas.

This newsletter contains information about our upcoming Annual Membership Meeting, the 2020 Arkansas Preservation Awards, the "Women in Preservation" speaker series, advocacy campaigns, an open invitation to join the "40 for 40" Sustainer Circle, and more.

Thank you again for your continued support. We wish you and yours a very happy and safe holiday season.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Rachel Patton
Executive Director
In Memoriam

It is with a heavy heart that we bid farewell to some good friends and stalwarts of historic preservation this year - Richard Butler, W.L. "Bill" Cook, and Sharon Welch-Blair will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, friends.
Giving Tuesday is December 1st
Since the beginning of November, Preserve Arkansas has highlighted historic properties throughout the state and the people and stories associated with them on our social media accounts. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to see all of the photos, and please donate or become a member this Giving Tuesday, December 1st.
Annual Membership Meeting
Join us for the Annual Membership Meeting on Tuesday, December 8th from the comfort of your own home! We will begin at 6 p.m. with a brief business meeting to elect board members, followed by the 2020 Annual Report and remarks from a special guest speaker, Renee Kuhlman, Senior Director of Outreach and Support at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Learn more and register here.
"40 for 40" Sustainer Circle
In honor of our 40th anniversary, Preserve Arkansas established the "40 for 40" Sustainer Circle, with the goal of creating a 40-member group of dedicated preservationists who pledge to support our organization with donations of at least $1,000 each year. Charter members of the Sustainer Circle will be announced during the Arkansas Preservation Awards on January 22, 2021. If you would like to learn more about the Sustainer Circle, please contact Rachel Patton.
Preservation Advocacy
Preserve Arkansas continues to work with the Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce to advocate for the protection and reuse of the Historic Army and Navy Hospital property at Hot Springs, which was included on our 2020 Most Endangered Places List. On October 1, 2020, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt wrote a letter to then-Secretary of Defense Mike Esper stating that the Interior Department would not take custody of the former Army and Navy Hospital property. This determination should trigger acceptance of the property by the Department of the Army, but the property appears to remain in state ownership. Preserve Arkansas has reached out to the National Park Service and the Department of the Army for additional information about the transfer of ownership and next steps.
Preserve Arkansas prepared a National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Perry Rock Island Railroad Depot and submitted it to the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program (AHPP). The depot's nomination is on the agenda for the December 2nd meeting of the Arkansas State Review Board for Historic Preservation, where we hope it will pass and be sent to the National Park Service for listing. In anticipation of the depot's National Register listing, Preserve Arkansas coordinated with architect Gary Clements of Clements & Associates in North Little Rock to submit a letter of intent for the AHPP's Historic Preservation Restoration Grant program to repair exterior wood siding, paint, and secure the building. The Perry County Historical and Genealogical Society is currently fundraising for the grant match. If you are interested in learning more or contributing to the project, please contact Rachel Patton.
In October, the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program released its new report on the economic impact of historic preservation in Arkansas. The study, prepared by Washington, DC-based firm PlaceEconomics, supports what we already know - preservation is good for local economies - with data. Pertaining to the Arkansas Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, the study found that $21.5 million in state historic tax credits leveraged $224 million in private investment since 2009 and rehabilitated 342 buildings in 24 cities. Read the full report here. This is welcome information as Preserve Arkansas works with our local partners to increase the annual cap on the state historic tax credit in the upcoming legislative session.
Late last year, Preserve Arkansas facilitated the transfer of the Beebe African American School from private ownership to the City of Beebe. Since then, we have assisted city staff with the preparation of a Determination of Eligibility form, which resulted in a determination that the building was eligible for listing in the Arkansas Register of Historic Places. Our involvement continues with this endangered property as we assist with the preparation of an Arkansas Register nomination. The City intends to rehabilitate the school, which is one of the last remaining - if not the last - school in White County constructed for the instruction of African American children during the era of segregated education.
Preserve Arkansas provided technical assistance and a letter of support for a proposed development project in Fayetteville that consisted of new infill construction and the preservation of the National Register-listed Peter Smyth House. The conditional use permit for the project was approved by the Fayetteville Planning Commission, but an appeal of that decision went before the full city council. Preserve Arkansas supported the permit because it included stipulations requiring the preservation of the vacant Smyth House and provided a viable plan for the building's reuse as a commercial property on Crossover Road. The City Council voted on November 5th to allow the project to move forward.
Arkansas Preservation Awards
We are pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Arkansas Preservation Awards, especially the recipient of our Parker Westbrook Award for Lifetime Achievement, Main Street Arkansas. Main Street Arkansas is being honored for its role in providing technical assistance, additional grant monies, and emotional support to local Main Street programs during the COVID-19 pandemic, thereby helping to save small businesses and keep our historic downtowns vibrant.
Please join us to celebrate Main Street Arkansas and all of our honorees at the 2020 Arkansas Preservation Awards Virtual Ceremony on the evening of January 22, 2021. This virtual event will highlight each award-winning project, organization, and individual along with live commentary and sponsor check-ins. Our emcee will be Ashley King, host of The Vine on THV11. Learn more about our updated virtual sponsor packages and tickets here.
Women in Preservation
With support from the Arkansas Humanities Council, Preserve Arkansas debuted its "Women in Preservation" virtual speaker series in October. The series features women from a variety of backgrounds to explore historic preservation in Arkansas and its importance in today's world. Watch the October and November talks here, and stay tuned for the February talk with Mandi Curtwright of Batesville!
Facebook Live Tours
Did you watch our Facebook Live tours at Blytheville and Osceola in September? We joined Mississippi County Judge John Alan Nelson and the crew from Renaissance Roofing for a behind-the-scenes look at the ongoing restoration projects at the Mississippi County Courthouses. You may view them on YouTube here.
Thank you to our Capital Partners!
Preserve Arkansas is the only statewide nonprofit advocate for the preservation of Arkansas's historic and cultural resources. Our organization works to build stronger communities by reconnecting Arkansans to our heritage and empowering people to save and rehabilitate historic places. Become a member today!