For National Preservation Month 2017, I worked to develop a large scale month long celebration in the City of Huntsville. Drawing on the National Trust’s tag line This Place Matters, Huntsville put it’s on local spin on the event celebrating instead #ThisPlaceMattersHsv. We kicked off the month on April 25th with a televised Proclamation led by Mayor Tommy Battle, myself, Council Member Bill Kling, Council Member Jennie Robinson, and Council Member Mark Russell. During the event we not only kicked off Preservation Month we also recognized Huntsville West for its adaptive reuse of the historic West Huntsville High School. We followed the Mayor’s Proclamation with a 30 minute Tweet Chat on May 1st.
To make Huntsville Preservation Month dynamic and interesting I took a tiered approach to our outreach, offering multiple ways for the community to participate. I worked with Mayor Battle to recognize four historic sites in the city throughout the month: Huntsville West, Campus No. 805, A.M Booth Lumber Yard, and Pizzelle’s Confectionary. All of the Mayor’s events were broadcast via Facebook Live and through local media outlets.
I also worked with our five City Council Members to recognize historic places in each of their districts. All of these events were broadcast via Facebook Live and photos from the event were shared via our social media outlets.
The final tier in our multi-layered approach was community member nominations. We asked community members to join in the celebration by nominating the historic places that mattered to them using the #ThisPlaceMattersHsv. Nominations were then honored with a #ThisPlaceMattersHsv decal sticker by members of the Huntsville Historic Preservation Commission. Photos from those awards were posted to our Facebook page.
One of the capstone events from our month long celebration was the “Preservation and Placemaking” presentation and panel discussion that we held on May 16th. The event began with a presentation entitled “Place Matters” by Cheryl Morgan, Emerita Professor of Architecture in the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture of Auburn University. The event ended with a panel discussion moderated by Donna Castellano, Executive Director of the Historic Huntsville Foundation, and made up of Ms. Morgan, Downtown Huntsville, Inc. President and CEO Chad Emerson, City of Huntsville Urban and Long Range Planner Dennis Madsen and Vice President of Tourism Jennifer Moore from the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Along with our various events for the month, I collaborated with Senior Writer Mark McCarter to publish five blog articles to highlight the importance of preservation in the city.
In total I helped the City of Huntsville honor 36 historic sites across the city.