Guest Commentary by Jay D. Vogt In keeping with the vision of the 2010 Initiative, Gov. M. Michael Rounds has declared May 3-9 as "Historic Preservation Week" in South Dakota, recognizing that our culture, heritage and history are kept alive through the preservation of our state's irreplaceable buildings, landscapes, sites, and structures.
This is a time to take stock of your community's historic buildings, structures and sites and celebrate their importance to South Dakota's future.�It's a time to broaden our view of historic preservation.
Although the protection of historic buildings is a key component to historic preservation, it is also about revitalizing neighborhoods, reviving downtowns, renewing public buildings, rejuvenating farmsteads, and fostering local pride.
In communities throughout our state, the South Dakota State Historical Society is working with public and private property owners to restore or renovate their historic buildings for continued use.�
Some projects take advantage of federal tax credits or the state property tax moratorium programs and a few receive a small grant to support the undertaking.
In most cases, however, historic preservation is spearheaded by property owners who take pride in their home or business and invest in their treasured historic buildings out of their own pockets.�It is a group of local citizens who hold bake sales, write letters to the editor, and talk to community leaders to save local landmarks from neglect or becoming another parking lot.
It is a grassroots effort of grandmas, moms, dads, business owners and children who work toward historic preservation because they believe in it and its importance to our state.
The new Department of Tourism and State Development was organized with the idea that our state's rich culture, heritage and history should play a larger role in encouraging families to visit South Dakota and for businesses to relocate here. �
The 2010 Initiative further emphasizes the contributions of culture, heritage and history to our abounding quality of life. �By preserving and utilizing historic buildings, structures and sites, we are providing the authentic heritage visitors are seeking as well as making available infrastructure and physical plants needed for new industry and commercial ventures.�
Historic preservation is about people and I commend those people whose passion and dedication in this area have made a difference in South Dakota.
Jay D. Vogt is director of the South Dakota State Historical Society and State Historic Preservation Office.�He oversees a staff that collects, preserves, interprets and promotes the history of the people of South Dakota.�The State Historical Society is an office of the Department of Tourism and State Development and operates the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center in Pierre.