Summary of Programs
The Preservation Alliance focuses its programs and services in five areas of emphasis, as well as undertaking special projects. These areas of emphasis are:
The Preservation Alliance is the primary advocacy organization for historic preservation in Philadelphia and the only historic preservation organization in the Philadelphia area with a regional perspective. In addition to taking the lead advocacy role for historic preservation in Philadelphia, the Alliance works cooperatively with preservation organizations in Bucks, Montgomery, Delaware and Chester counties; with Preservation Pennsylvania; and with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Alliance is the Local Partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Advocacy is both an area of concentration and a component of all of the Alliance’s work. Advocacy programs and services include the following:
- Review and comment on proposals for alteration or demolition of historic properties in Philadelphia through regular monitoring of items presented to the Philadelphia Historical Commission and testimony at Commission meetings.
- Advocacy on such public policy issues as creation of new state tax incentives for historic preservation, creation of conservation districts in Philadelphia, and review of proposed changes to the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance.
- Creation of on-line petitions and letter writing or email campaigns on critical local and state preservation issues.
- Publication of newspaper articles on historic preservation as well as letters to the editor and interviews with news media.
- Appeals, when appropriate, of decisions by the Philadelphia Historic Commission or other public agencies, and support of appeals filed by community organizations in Philadelphia and adjacent counties.
- Advice to private developers, community organizations, and individuals on the laws and procedures of historic preservation including designation of historic properties, creation of historic districts, financial resources for preservation projects, and procedures for alterations or demolition of historic properties.
- Nomination of historic properties for local designation and nomination of historic properties to the National Register.
- Creation of an annual Endangered Properties list to draw public attention to key historic sites in need of assistance.
- Presentation of annual awards for accomplishments in historic preservation in the Philadelphia region.
- Advice to members and the general public regarding historic property research, selection of contractors or other professional services, and sources of materials for historic property preservation.
The Alliance is a membership organization with approximately 2,000 members. The Alliance offers a variety of programs and services to promote preservation awareness among the general public and to educate members and the general public about historic preservation issues. These programs and services include:
- Publication of a newsletter with a distribution list of 2,000 including members, prospective members, public officials, and other individuals and organizations in the region.
- Maintenance of a website (www.preservationalliance.com) that provides a calendar of preservation events in the region, preservation news, and a directory of regional preservation organizations and suppliers of preservation services.
- Organization of tours of historic sites and lectures on historic preservation topics, with a particular focus on events during preservation month in May.
- Co-sponsorship of events with other organizations.
- Hard Hat Tours for Professional Partner members of the Alliance (professional organizations and businesses in the historic preservation field).
- An annual dinner with special guest speaker for members of the Cornerstone Society.
The Regional Initiative is a cooperative effort with the major preservation organizations in the four adjacent Pennsylvania counties. The objective of the initiative is to develop opportunities for learning from and with one another and to coordinate advocacy support on preservation issues of mutual interest. The Regional Initiative consists of the following programs and services:
- Organization of one annual meeting of representatives of preservation organizations in the region to discuss issues of common concern and opportunities for cooperation, including coordination on state preservation issues.
- Establishment of a regional directory of preservation organizations on the Alliance’s website and a calendar of preservation events in the region.
- Support to preservation organizations in the counties on local advocacy issues.
- Technical assistance for preservation projects and assistance to local governments for historic properties with regional or national significance.
The Neighborhood Initiative combines both advocacy and programs for preservation of historic properties and the overall historic character of neighborhoods in Philadelphia. The programs and services undertaken during the past three years include:
- Technical assistance and support to neighborhood organizations on issues affecting properties in the neighborhood, with a special emphasis on historic districts.
- Management of the City of Philadelphia funded Historic Property Repair Program, which provides grants to low- and moderate-income owners of historic residential properties.
- Assistance in developing legislation for Conservation Districts in Philadelphia and technical assistance to neighborhoods interested in creating such districts.
- Advocacy assistance to neighborhood organizations for preservation projects of concern in their neighborhood, with a special emphasis on outreach to African-American residents of Philadelphia.
- Workshops for homeowners on how to repair and maintain historic properties.
- Workshops for community organizations on the basics of historic preservation and its relationship to community organizations.
- Development of nominations for historic districts and assistance to neighborhood organizations interested in becoming historic or conservation districts.
- Organization of an annual Old House Fair.
The Alliance accepts preservation easements on historic properties as a way of insuring preservation of historic properties. Easement programs and services consist of:
- Informing and educating property owners and their representatives of the benefits of preservation easements through written information and participation in seminars like the Philadelphia Bar Institute’s annual program on historic preservation law.
- Special marketing and education efforts to inform homeowners of the benefits of preservation easements.
- Annual inspection of the Alliance’s 220 easements.
- Consultation with property owners and their attorneys on specific easements, including informing them of current IRS regulations regarding the charitable tax deductions for easement donations and the legal documents required to make easement donations.
- Participation in meetings of the National Trust to examine policies and standards for easement programs of preservation organizations in major cities.
- Purchase of preservation easements when funds for that purpose are donated to the Alliance.
- William Penn Statue Fund
The Alliance is charged with supervision of the William Penn statue on top of City Hall. This includes an annual inspection of the statue and re-waxing the protective coating approximately every six years. The services are supported by a special fund, established in 1980 with contributions from the general public.
- Hidden Cities Festival
In partnership with Peregrine Arts Inc., a nonprofit corporation, the Alliance is sponsoring the Hidden City Festival to be held in Philadelphia in June 2009. The festival will demonstrate through sound and light installations new approaches to interpretation of historic sites. See www.peregrinearts.org.
- Special Purpose Funds
The Alliance acts as fiscal agent for organizations that are not incorporated and wish to undertake preservation projects that are consistent with the Alliance’s mission and program objectives. At the present time the Alliance administers the Society Hill Advocacy Fund and the West Shipyard Fund.
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