Liberty designated as Preserve America community

August 31, 2004|BRENDA S. EDWARDS

LIBERTY - This city has joined others in the area designated as a Preserve America communities, and is in line to receive up to $250,000 in matching fund federal grants.

First Lady Laura Bush announced the designation Monday, according to a press release.

"Preserve American communities demonstrate that they are committed to preserving America's heritage while ensuring a future filled with opportunities for learning and enjoyment," said Bush. "This new community designation program, combined with the Preserve America Presidential Awards and federal support, provides strong incentives for continued preservation of our cultural and natural heritage resources. I commend you for your commitment to preserving an important part of our nation's historic past for visitors, neighbors, and most importantly, our children."

Liberty is one of more than 35 Kentucky cities, including Danville and Harrodsburg, that have received a certificate of designation.

"I'm real proud we've been recognized," said Mayor Steve Sweeney, who along with the City Council, Arlen Sanders, executive director of the Economic Development Authority and the Main Street/Renaissance Kentucky Committee received the certificate.


Sweeney said the city has already made a grant application for funds to preserve the old downtown theater through the state Main Street/Renaissance program. "We should hear something in a month or so."

The theater on Hustonville Street was a place for people to go for entertainment through the 1960s. It has been closed for several years, but is still in good condition. Plans are to convert it into a community arts center where people can exhibit local arts and crafts and hold theater performances.

Sanders said the city also will apply for grants through the Preserve America program to do work at Liberty Park, at Ky. 49 and Hustonville Street, where a fountain is planned. Seeding and plantings also are needed for the park that will be dedicated to military veterans from the Revolutionary War to the present.

Program is new

The Preserve America program is a new White House move to encourage and support community efforts for the preservation and enjoyment of America's 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 communities.

As a Preserve America community, the city will have a logo on signs and promotional materials; notification to media, tourism offices and visitor bureaus; and listing in a Web-based directory to showcase preservation efforts and highlight heritage tourism designations.

The Bush Administration's fiscal year 2005 budget contains a request for $10 million in grant funds for which communities that meet the criteria can apply. The matching grants range from $5,000 to $250,000 and may be used to preserve or use important historic resources for promotion of heritage tourism and other economic revitalization projects.

"You are pioneers in this initiative, which shows just how proud the people of Liberty are of their city, state and their place in our nation's history," said Gale Norton, Secretary of the Interior "Each community's unique and diverse stories are part of the larger chapter of American heritage, culture and values. It is by visiting and experiencing these special places that we have an opportunity to touch the past, and can best understand how the past touches us."

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