Heritage Ohio Conference

Berardi+ was fortunate enough to participate in the annual Heritage Ohio Conference which was held in Downtown Columbus October 16-18.  The conference provided an opportunity for our staff, Jon Holway, Sarah Clapper and Joe Berardi to interact with not only local preservationists, but also state and national preservationists – as members of the (Ohio) State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and National Parks Service (NPS) spoke during numerous seminar sessions.

The ability for our staff to attend these all-important seminars is crucial, as it provides focused dialogue on how the Standards apply to various building conditions – understanding every building is unique in its own right.  The byproduct of the seminars provides further insight as SHPO and NPS staff discuss how conditions are viewed and discuss the hierarchy of spaces as they relate to the structures.

A few highlights from the conference included seminars from the tandem of Mariangela Pfister (SHPO) and Lisa Brownell (ODSAA), John Sandor (NPS) and the key note speech given by Mr. Robert Stanton.  Mariangela Pfister and Lisa Brownell focused their session on the process of working through the application process and more importantly, focusing on the federal and state historic tax credits.  John Sandor’s session focused primarily on the application of material substitutions and provided the science behind the selection process and how historic materials were not necessarily appropriately used nor should conditions and materials necessarily be wholesale replicated.  One of the most engaging sessions was the keynote speech given by Mr. Robert Stanton, the former director of the National Park Service (NPS)– who also held a 4-year term on the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation.  The speech emphasized not only the economic benefits, but also the importance of preservation of culture and history that is often times lost, given the current focus of the economic driven nature of development.

One aspect that was not lost, and discussed at length between breakout sessions was the release of the much-anticipated Tax Reform Bill – as it was expected (and later confirmed) to eliminate the historic tax credits.  As preservationists, the impact could not only impact our history and culture, but would have wide ranging impacts economically.  One issue that is sometimes lost when thinking about tax credits is the economic cost to the government, as the credits are considered a tax liability.  What is lost is the ‘dynamic’ impact the credits bring – rehabilitating vacant buildings, job creation, skilled labor, etc. Please be sure to contact your local representatives to emphasize the importance of the historic tax credit program. To learn more about the benefits of the program, click here.