Texas Historical Commission looking to save endangered landmarks across state

The Texas Historical Commission (THC) is looking for public input to ensure its newest initiative, the Historic Endangered Landmarks Program (HELP), is a success. From ancient Native American petroglyphs to historic buildings and battlefields, the THC is working to identify important heritage sites throughout the state that are threatened and in need of assistance. The program is being launched in conjunction with the THC’s 50th anniversary, and will identify, record and publicize significant endangered properties. In addition, the HELP program will assist communities in addressing threats and reducing or eliminating them. “The people of Texas recognize the importance of preserving their unique and irreplaceable heritage,” said THC Executive Director Larry Oaks. “This program combines 50 years of experience as the state agency for historic preservation with public input of what is important and what is endangered.” The HELP program focuses on the concept that citizens are most aware of threatened properties in their own vicinity, as well as the specific nature of the threats and solutions to reduce them. An Endangered Historic Property Identification Form has been sent to preservationists across the state and will soon be available on the THC web site at www.thc.state.tx.us. Once notified, THC staff will develop and maintain a database of endangered historic properties, monitoring their status and tracking recurring threats statewide. Area residents may be contacted by THC staff to help gather more information on selected locations. THC staff will also work with citizens to target assistance efforts with specific needs. A “tool kit” with funding information, technical assistance and successful strategies to reduce threats to historic properties will be available. Starting in 2004, the THC will publish an annual list of Threatened Texas Treasures selected from the database to highlight significant endangered properties. Selected sites will be nominated to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s list of Endangered Historic Properties.

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