Historic properties have a way of disappearing. They fall prey to demolition, neglect, or renovations that alter them beyond recognition. Building by
building, site by site, the evidence of a community’s heritage can gradually be lost through private and public action or inaction, taking with it much of
the community’s character, individuality, and vitality.
Like any limited resource, historic properties need careful planning and management to ensure their survival for current and future generations. They are
subject to the complex pressures and issues of modern society, and often their preservation appears to be at odds with the immediate needs for affordable
housing, economic revitalization, employment, education, and so on.
Preservation of our heritage is not a mere luxury. It actually helps combat the very problems that plague our communities by stabilizing neighborhoods,
providing affordable housing, lowering crime, stimulating private investment, bringing people and businesses back downtown, attracting tourists, and
strengthening community pride.
There are numerous ways a community can work to preserve its historic properties. These include: a historic preservation ordinance or resolution, zoning,
demolition moratoria, downtown revitalization programs, local economic incentives, promoting use of the state and federal rehabilitation tax credits
(especially in combination with the low-income housing tax credit), and public education programs. The best approach is to use a combination of tools,
especially chosen and integrated to suit local needs. Again, this means planning.
What is a Historic Preservation Plan?
A historic preservation plan is a statement of the community’s goals for its historic properties and the actions it will take to reach those goals. It is
most effective when it is a component of a community’s master plan and is coordinated with other policies for housing, economic development,
transportation, et cetera. Communities that do not have a master plan, or that will not be revising it soon, can create a separate historic preservation
plan to serve in the interim.
The plan is not only a written document but a continuous process that brings together citizens and interest groups and helps them identify where their
diverse goals complement historic preservation and how they can work together to preserve their local heritage.
A historic preservation plan should include these elements:
- Documentation of the history of a community and its historic properties. In order to plan for historic properties, a community must identify them first.
A thorough and up-to-date historic properties survey may be a good initial goal of a plan. Keep in mind that your community’s history is found not only in
architectural masterpieces, but in middle and working class neighborhoods, modest commercial districts, industrial buildings, farm buildings, bridges,
landscapes, and archaeological sites.
- An assessment of the current situation in the community, including all of the factors such as local legislation and financial incentives that might
affect historic preservation.
- A map and address list of known historic properties from surveys, local historic districts and landmarks, and the National Register of Historic
- A list of Community goals for preservation based on direct public participation in the planning process.
Examine local zoning
Ohio’s Historic Preservation Plan
With public input from around the state, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office has created a state historic preservation plan titled A Future for Ohio's
Past: A Historic Preservation Plan for Ohioans 2010-2014. Ohio’s historic preservation plan helps set a direction for historic preservation efforts
throughout the state and brings attention to the most urgent needs.
Click here to view the complete plan in Adobe .pdf format. (3.07 MB Adobe Acrobat PDF will load in
What Can You Do?
Work with your local government to plan carefully for the future of the places that are evidence of your community’s heritage. If you have a historic
preservation plan, make sure it is up-to-date and is being implemented.
Establish local historic preservation legislation
Protect your historic resources through an ordinance or resolution, or make sure the existing legislation is adequate and that the properties that need
protection have indeed been designated as historic.
To assist your community in drafting historic preservation legislation, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office has created a model ordinance.
Click here to view the Model Ordinance.
Make sure the zoning for historic areas encourages their survival, rather than their replacement with parking lots or commercial strips.
Document your community’s historic properties
Work with your local historical society, historic preservation organization, or other citizen groups to conduct surveys or develop National Register
Contact the Ohio Historic Preservation Office for information about the Ohio Historic Inventory or the National Register of Historic Places.
Encourage Certified Local Government (CLG) program participation
As a Certified Local Government, your community will be eligible to apply for federal matching grant funds for planning and other preservation activities.
Click here for more information about the Certified Local Government Program.
Participate in implementing Ohio’s Historic Preservation Plan
Ohioans can support historic preservation by putting the statewide plan to use in their local communities, organizations, and agencies.