Preserve America Training for Regional Directors
PREPARED REMARKS FOR
ALPHONSO JACKSON, SECRETARY FOR HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT
THURSDAY, JANUARY 24, 2008
Thank you, Mayor (Bob) Young.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. I am so pleased you could attend this training session.
Forty-two years ago, President Johnson and Congress committed this country to a process of historic preservation. The National Historic Preservation Act was a milestone in protecting the heritage of our cities.
Our department has a share of that commitment. Historic preservation efforts are now supported through our community block grant programs, HOPE VI, and the HOME Program.
I am proud of our involvement. It helps revitalize our cities, making them great places to live and work and raise a family.
Of course, our efforts are part of a wide federal partnership that involves several agencies, the White House, and the Preserve America Initiative.
And our partners include state and local governments, civic groups, and many other organizations interested in historic preservation.
I want to give the Preserve America initiative and staff special recognition. I am pleased that Mrs. Bush is the honorary chairperson. And I believe the staff is doing a great job. Thanks to their good work, there is strong bipartisan support for historic preservation.
Our efforts help cities retain their unique character, their memory, and their past. The history of a city is written in its architecture and its neighborhoods.
You know that a city has its memories and its achievements. And when a city loses one of its important landmarks, it loses a part of itself, a piece of its past.
For me, our buildings are living history, monuments to the hopes and aspirations of their designers.
They stand witness to those who spent their lives working and living there. Some buildings are like testimonials...a constant source of inspiration.
Historic preservation gives the city continuity with its origins and its growth. It retains linkages to generations of people, helping retain the qualities and vision that initially drew people to that place.
So I believe this training is very important. With the rapid rate of urban growth, and the changing needs of a city, there must be successful efforts to retain the harmony and vision of the city.
As we preserve our history, we make the city itself nobler, richer, and better. Through your work, we make our cities great.
I again want to thank you for coming. Historic preservation is a lasting legacy. I wish you well in your training and in your efforts. I also thank you on behalf of the department and a grateful nation.