If historic preservation is important to you, now is your time.
Action Tank, in partnership with the Cincinnati Preservation Association and the Cincinnati Preservation Collective, is hosting a series of upcoming sessions next month. The goal: to ask citizens how to make historic preservation more visible and relevant to the average person.
"Historic buildings are everywhere – they're in everyone's neighborhoods. We want to make sure that people that are living in them experience those community benefits from these magnificent buildings," said Paul Muller, executive director of Cincinnati Preservation Association.
"We want to hear from as many voices as we can," Ioanna Paraskevopoulos, executive director and co-founder of Action Tank, told The Enquirer.
Attendees' suggestions will inform the coalition's Cincinnati Historic Preservation Action Plan. According to Paraskevopoulos, the plan will outline goals and lead multiple initiatives to improve local preservation.
That could be more signs in historic areas, pushing for more money for preservation programming from the city or philanthropic organizations or lobbying for policy changes that will better protect historic areas.
Paraskevopoulos said Cincinnati needs "a stronger preservation infrastructure" such as ongoing training for historic conservation board members and preserving living spaces in neighborhoods like Over-the-Rhine so that residents don't become displaced.
By partnering with two preservation organizations, this plan will present a "road map" for the future of historic preservationin Cincinnati.
'Preservation affects everyone'
Another goal of the plan is to make citizens play a more active role in preservation.
"It's creating a better sense of connection between people and where they live," Paraskevopoulos said.
At the sessions, attendees will answer open-ended questions such as "What is a historic building nearby in your neighborhood that you want to learn more about?" or "What is something about the historic preservation society that you think needs to be improved?" They can also provide suggestions on future historic areas or solutions to common issues behind preservation.
The Cincinnati Preservation Association's Muller said these sessions are the first wide-scale sampling of citizens for his organization. In the past, the association had sent out surveys to its membership with narrow questions. This is the first time that the organization will hear from citizens who were not already involved in historic preservation.
"We hope it connects us to people who aren't normally in our orbit. Preservation affects everyone. Whether people identify themselves as a preservationist or not, people enjoy and appreciate the richness that historic buildings can give their community," Muller told The Enquirer.
How to weigh in
Here is the schedule:
- Monday, July 12 at 6 p.m. : Madcap Puppet Center in Westwood.
- Wednesday, July 14 at 6 p.m. : Artsville in Madisonville.
- Thursday, July 15 at 6 p.m. : Mount Auburn Preparatory Academy.
- Sunday, August 15 at 3 p.m. : Grace Episcopal Church in College Hill.
- Tuesday, August 17 at 6 p.m. : Hauck House in West End.
- Saturday, August 21 at10 a.m. : Virtual session via Zoom.
At each session, attendees will watch a short video about local historic preservation and participate in an informal forum. Doors will open 15 minutes prior to the session. Beverages and snacks will be provided.
People who are interested in attending these sessions can register now via Eventbrite.