Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
Chairman's Dinner


It's a pleasure to see you again. I bring regrets from the Secretary, who wishes he could have joined us.

Many of you attended today's symposium. I hope you enjoyed it. I want to thank Darlene Williams and Manuel Ochoa for helping to put it together.

To John Nau, and the members of the Council, I appreciate your great work.

Let me also thank Lurita Doan for her support, and Anita McBride, who will be here shortly.

The story of the American Century is, in many ways, the story of our cities. Their factories powered our economy. Their office buildings employed our middle class. Their apartments and row houses welcomed immigrants and African-Americans "yearning to breathe free."

And I believe our cities will help write the story of the next American Century.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is leading the way.

You have shown us how rehabilitation of historic buildings can help revitalize urban centers, that we don't have to settle for either housing or renewal.

We can and must have both.

From space at night, our cities look like jewels. And you have helped us discover the hidden, historic gems that were overlooked for too long.

Each building, like each city, has a unique character. They deserve to be put to the best use to benefit the most people. I'm reminded of that old phrase, "form follows function."

Of course, I was mayor of Syracuse, which was built on its canal trade and salt sales. It doesn't get more functional than that!

Your Policy Statement on Affordable Housing and Historic Preservation has provided us with a common-sense blueprint to carry out.

HUD was happy to have brochures printed of the Guidelines for our grantees and partners.

It may help lead us to a new era of cooperation between our state and local partners, developers, and preservationists.

We take our name seriously: Housing and Urban Development. Together, I believe we can make our cities preferred destinations for businesses, tourists, and working families.

I would note that the Community Development Block Grant program has become the largest source of revitalization funds in the federal government.

We are also eager to work with communities to identify and remove the barriers to renewal-some caused by government, others solved by government.

That's why HUD launched the America's Affordable Communities Initiative and the Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse.

The First Lady's Preserve America Initiative also deserves credit. Their mission to "protect, restore, and conserve" our history is bringing regional pride to our cities.

And it has led to a $5 million request to establish a national inventory of historic properties.

We have been inspired to see mixed-use, mixed-income neighborhoods sprout up across the country, from Park Boulevard in Chicago to River Garden in New Orleans and everywhere in between.

That's the new HUD. And we are proud to have the Council as our partner in progress.

So, in closing, let me say that, like us, our cities aren't getting older, they're getting better!

Thank you for doing your part.

Content Archived: December 27, 2011