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Plan identifies action items to improve city-wide preservation program

image of 2018 Historic Preservation Master Plan coverHistoric preservation does not happen without the support of a community’s dedication to embrace the task of saving its past and the willingness to develop a plan on how to accomplish that task.  So, in 2015 when the St. Augustine City Commission authorized a project to develop a preservation plan it was embracing that very important task and made the commitment that says historic preservation is important to the city.

That commitment to develop a plan came to fruition on October 22 when the commission adopted the 190-page Historic Preservation Master Plan, a tremendous accomplishment for the city known as The Nation’s Oldest City.

While St. Augustine is a small city with just over 14,000 residents in its 10-square miles, approximately 50% of its properties are considered historic and the cultural diversity of its history is evidenced by having 42 properties and seven districts recognized in the National Register of Historic Places.

A preservation plan is a planning tool that responds to the goals set forth by the community and forms the basis of the community’s preservation program. But, development of such a plan does not come without a lot of work. In fact a comprehensive plan as detailed as this has not been undertaken in over 30 years. 

Before hiring the consulting firm Preservation Design Partnership, city staff and the volunteer Historic Architectural Review Board conducted a public workshop with a speaker from the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions to begin the process independently. Then, over a three year period, more than a dozen public meetings and/or workshops were held and two community surveys were conducted which provided a wealth of contributions to the plan’s recommendations. 

The final plan identifies some challenges to preserving the city’s historic buildings, objects, sites, and districts including the growth of tourism, redevelopment, demolitions, public education and engagement and flooding, including the threat of sea-level rise. The substance of the plan is action-oriented recommendations which were guided by community input, expert analysis, and an implementation chapter with action steps grouped according to their priority and/or sequential nature. These tasks form the basis for the preservation program and emphasizes the role of participation by the city government, property owners, businesses, subject matter experts, and non-profit institutions to work through these challenges. 

The Historic Preservation Master Plan may be found here

For further information, contact Jenny Wolfe, Historic Preservation Officer, at 904.209.4326.