Augusta awarded $50,000 in Preserve America Grant funds

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Augusta was announced as one of the winners of the first Preserve America Grants this morning by First Lady Laura Bush in Washington, D.C.

One of only 45 recipients, the city of Augusta has been awarded $50,000 to conduct a wayfinding plan that will emphasize the historic, cultural and heritage tourism resources of Augusta.

The Augusta Convention & Visitors Bureau (ACVB) applied for the grant on behalf of the city Augusta. President & CEO Barry White was in the Capitol this morning to accept the grant and met with the First Lady and Secretary of Interior Gale Norton whose administration coordinates the grant. “It was an honor to be present at the ceremony this morning and to represent Augusta in the Nation’s Capitol," said White. "This funding is an asset for the city of Augusta and will enable us to further promote heritage tourism by improving our directional sign system.”

Augusta’s designation as a Preserve America Community makes the city eligible to apply for the funds. Historic Augusta was instrumental in the application process and deserves much of the credit for receiving 100% of the application request.

Improving wayfinding in Augusta is an integral part of the Destination 2020 plan and also the ACVB’s strategic plan.

In a ceremony held on Capitol Hill today, Mrs. Laura Bush, First Lady of the United States and Honorary Chair of Preserve America, announced the first round of Preserve America Grants totaling nearly $3.5 million and acknowledged a number of new Preserve America Communities, including the first five Preserve America Community Neighborhood designations.

“Historic preservation has an important place in America. Preserve America promotes education, historic preservation and economic development while encouraging a greater appreciation of our national treasures--from monuments and buildings to landscapes and main streets. President Bush and I want every American, especially our children, to discover and learn about our nation’s heritage,” Mrs. Bush said.

Mrs. Bush congratulated the first 45 recipients of Preserve America Grants. The first round of Preserve America grants provided $3.5 million for projects in 28 states representing all regions of the country. This new program provides funds on a matching basis to assist Preserve America communities with marketing, planning, and educational efforts associated with protection and appropriate use of community heritage. She also announced an application deadline of May 15 for the second round of grant funding totaling $1.5 million.

Today’s event recognized the first five Preserve America Community Neighborhood designations. They included The District, the Nashville, Tennessee neighborhood in which Mrs. Bush first unveiled the Neighborhoods program in July 2005. The other four neighborhoods designated are: Bell Court and Gratz Park, both in Lexington, Kentucky; Historic Portland, in Louisville, Kentucky; and Irvington, in Indianapolis, Indiana. Also recognized today were 18 recent additions to the Preserve America Community roster. Two communities, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and Wall Township, New Jersey, are from states that formerly contained no designated communities. The other 16 communities recognized were (alphabetically, by state): Dumas, Arizona; Redlands, California; Russellville, Kentucky; Salisbury, Maryland; Wabasha, Minnesota; Vicksburg, Mississippi; Independence, Missouri; Red Lodge and Terry, Montana; Hidalgo, Texas; Toole County, Utah; Herndon, Virginia; Spotsylvania County, Virginia; Skykomish, Washington; Charles Town, West Virginia; and Mannington, West Virginia.

The event, held in the Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building on Capitol Hill, was hosted by the Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus, whose co-chairs are Rep. Michael Turner of Ohio and Rep. Brad Miller of North Carolina. Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton and Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and Co-Chair of the Preserve America Steering Committee, John L. Nau, III accompanied Mrs. Bush at the event. The Department of the Interior and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation are two of the Federal agencies that partner with the White House on the Preserve America initiative.

Preserve America is a White House initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless 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 our communities.

More information on Preserve America, including a complete list of grant recipients, criteria and application forms for various initiative programs, can be found at