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ACHP Meets in Vicksburg

August 27, 2007—Washington, D.C.—The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) had its summer business meeting in Vicksburg, Mississippi, August 16-17. Council members took part in a Preserve America Community designation and recognition event Aug. 16 to honor Baldwyn, Mississippi, the latest Mississippi town to receive Community designation, as well as 13 other communities in the state that have previously received the White House designation. Four Preserve America Grant recipients were also honored with grants totaling $360,000 for projects to support heritage tourism in the state.
Later that day, council members toured the Vicksburg National Military Park and heard detailed stories of the 47-day siege that took place there in 1863. They learned of issues surrounding historic appearance restoration currently underway on the Civil War battlefield.

The ACHP's business meeting on Aug. 17 included a presentation on Gulf Coast recovery efforts by the State Historic Preservation Officers of Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama. They are spending a special $3 million appropriation to respond to the cultural resource impacts of the 2005 hurricanes.

ACHP Chairman John L. Nau, III gave out two awards: the Chairman's Award for Federal Achievement in Historic Preservation went to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for its GIS leadership in Mississippi. The National Park Service won the ACHP Award for Federal Preserve America Accomplishments for its management of the Preserve America Grant program.

Other council business included endorsement of the Preserve America/Save America's Treasures authorizing legislation and historic preservation provisions in the Farm Bill.

Under the ACHP's reauthorization legislation, the president was allowed to name three more agencies to the ACHP. Those are the Departments of Commerce, Education, and Housing and Urban Development as voting members. Also added was the Department of Veterans Affairs as a replacement for EPA. EPA has rotated off as a voting member, but the chairman asked for the council to concur on keeping EPA on the board as an observer. With these additions, the ACHP is taking a step into a much broader arena, Nau said. Particularly with the Departments of Education and Commerce: "they don't hold assets but they hold the opportunity to engage the public in the benefits of preservation," he said.



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