OXFORD, MS - At an event held April 19, 2007, John L. Nau, III, Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, along with the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Regional Director Bob Young awarded Oxford, Mississippi the designation of a Preserve America Community. Joining them was Oxford Mayor Richard Howorth and other local leaders.
L-R: Bob Young, HUD Atlanta Regional Director; Elizabeth Shiver, President, Oxford-Lafayette County Heritage Foundation; John L. Nau III Chairman, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; Richard Howorth, Mayor, City of Oxford.
In an effort to promote the Preserve America initiative and preserve historic communities, HUD has partnered with the Advisory Council, other federal agencies, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the President's Council on Environmental Quality, and the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. First Lady Laura Bush is the honorary chair of Preserve America. To date, 473 communities have been designated as Preserve America communities.
"Preserve America Communities, neighborhoods, and grant recipients know the importance of historic preservation to the economic, educational, esthetic, and cultural life of America, as well as to their residents, their visitors, and especially to their children," said John Nau, Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. "The citizens of Oxford, Mississippi do a great job of preserving and promoting their heritage."
Oxford, Mississippi has supported the preservation of its historic environment. The Oxford Preservation Commission, established in 2000, plays an active role in recognizing and preserving local historic districts and landmarks. The city's comprehensive land use plan also emphasizes protection of historic neighborhoods. Oxford and the University of Mississippi have been involved in the development of a regional heritage tourism program called the Mississippi Hills Heritage Area. Oxford also produces a walking map and guide for visitors and hosts a variety of community-based celebrations. Oxford's Lafayette County courthouse was built in 1873, restored in 1981, and is currently undergoing further restoration. The building and its neighboring public square have remained a vital center of commerce, culture, and activity for Oxford. Efforts continue to designate it a historic preservation district in the face of redevelopment pressures
Mayor Richard Howorth, City of Oxford
Preserve America is a White House initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the initiative include a greater shared knowledge about the nation's past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the country's cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities.
"In addition to governments, the private sector - businesses, philanthropic groups, historical organizations, educational institutions, and private citizens - also have a crucial role to play. Public-private partnerships are already supporting excellent preservation work throughout our country, and they'll be vital to preserving our national treasures in the years ahead," said Mrs. Bush.
For further information on the Preserve America initiative go to: www.preserveamerica.gov