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2005 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award Recipients

Village of Evandale receives award
Village of Evandale & Friends of Gorman Heritage Farm

Jim Gorman's dream was to preserve his 100-acre family farm as a working farm where future generations could learn about an earlier way of life. Over the years he and his sister, Dorothy, resisted many offers to develop the land. By 1985, it was surrounded by subdivisions and was the last working family farm in Evendale. In 1995 Jim and Dorothy reached an agreement with Cincinnati Nature Center, which opened Gorman Heritage Farm to the public in 1996. When it became public in February 2003 that Cincinnati Nature Center could no longer honor the terms of the agreement and that the farm would close by August, many people stepped forward to voice concern. Evendale's mayor set up a task force that appeared before Council in June to report on the feasibility of the Village acquiring and managing the farm. The task force recommended forming an advisory committee to research the operations of similar farms and create a business plan. In November, when the committee proposed a business plan, council members voted unanimously to accept the farm and resume operations, with the goal of Gorman Heritage Farm becoming a self-sufficient non-profit within five years. A board was named to implement the plan, and volunteers worked throughout the winter to ready the farm for opening. Cincinnati Preservation Association acted as financial administrator until the legal requirements for a new nonprofit could be met. Evendale's Historical Commission worked with Cincinnati Nature Center's volunteer historian to finish a book entitled The Gorman Heritage Farm - A Rare Gem in Urban America, which was published and distributed to generate interest and support. A farming staff was hired and plans were made to begin plantings and return livestock to the barnyard. Thousands of volunteer hours enabled Gorman Heritage Farm to reopen in May 2004 with limited hours. By fall a director and an education specialist were on board. Evendale celebrated with a three-day event in October, ending with the annual Town Meeting where it was announced that 2005 would bring the return of full operations at Gorman Heritage Farm.

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