The rules get written by those who show up. Two opportunities to show up and raise your voice are upon us and deadlines for input are imminent.
National Register of Historic Places Proposed Rule Changes
The Department of the Interior is proposing rule changes for nominating properties to the National Register of Historic Places. One proposed new rule would allow those who own more land to have more say in whether their properties are placed on the National Register when their properties are included in a larger group nomination. So, for example, if a city wants to nominate a downtown district with numerous structures, the landowners who own the most properties get the most say in such a situation.
Another rule change would allow federal owners of federal properties to block nominations of these properties to the National Register. Essentially, the governing agency would thumb its nose at the idea that these are public properties and make such decisions internally. This is alarming because it really paves the way for historic properties on public lands to have no real protections whatsoever.
To get more details on the proposed rule changes to the National Register, visit The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s page on the subject. The page will link you to the comments page of regulations.gov so you can weigh in on this important issue. You can leave your comments anonymously if you like.
Comments are due before April 30, 2019.
I sit on the the Minnesota State Review Board for the National Register of Historic Places and I can tell you that State Historic Preservation Offices throughout the country are against these rule changes.
From a personal standpoint, I am also vehemently against them. I see them as a power and land grab by the current administration, a further erosion of the public good the government is supposed to serve.
Explore Minnesota Strategic Plan Survey
Explore Minnesota, the state’s tourism organization, is working on its strategic plan for 2020/2021. They are soliciting public comments and ideas about the strategic plan first through a SurveyMonkey survey here.
I plugged for having Explore Minnesota look more seriously at history as both infrastructure and a tourist draw. I cautioned against them always leaning on economics as the primary reason for tourism. People travel to places for deeper reasons than finding a new place to spend their money. I also suggested they adopt Governor Tim Walz’s “One Minnesota” in order to help bridge the rural/urban divide in the state. Finally, I suggested their new plan discuss climate change in terms of tourism in the state.
This is a great way to have a say in the priorities Explore Minnesota will set for the next couple of years. Often, it’s hard for organizations such as this to get public feedback. Let’s blow them out of the water with good, thoughtful ideas for tourism in Minnesota.
I can’t find the deadline for this survey. I suspect it was in the email I got at work. I think it responses are due within the month of April sometime, so the sooner you fill it out, the better.