By Alice Guerrant

It’s important every so often to step back and evaluate what you’ve done so that you can see if you need to change something. Every five years, the State Historic Preservation Office leads the effort to produce a new statewide historic preservation plan. This is our chance as historic preservationists to ask what’s going well, what’s not working, and how can we improve.

I learn so much every time we go through the planning process. I meet interesting, concerned citizens who are passionate about saving places that are important to them. And even though preservation is a fairly small world in Delaware, it is very good to get together with your colleagues and find out what they’ve been doing. Communicating our frustrations, needs, and successes helps us figure out where we need to go from here.

The statewide historic preservation plan is a requirement of our federal Historic Preservation Fund grant, and every state and territory does one every so often. If you want to look at some other states’ plans, the National Park Service has a page with links to all of them.

But even though we lead the effort and write the plan, it is not for the government alone. We want a thoughtful, useful plan that can benefit preservation advocates across Delaware. It is a framework for decision-making, coordinating preservation groups and activities, and for communicating with the many groups who affect and are affected by historic preservation.



We begin by summarizing what we know about Delaware’s historic places and preservation

List successes, failures, and accomplishments since 2008
… Numbers and kinds of historic properties
… Delaware’s changing demographics and land use patterns
… Agencies and projects affecting historic properties
… Survey and public workshop responses

We then take those findings and develop goals and strategies for the next five years.

Goals are based on the major trends we’ve heard from the survey and workshops
Strategies are based on what’s workable within this planning period

Then, we actually write the plan.

We get comments on draft from preservationists, planners, members of the Delaware State Review Board for Historic Preservation, and others

We submit a final draft to the National Park Service for approval.

If necessary, we revise and resubmit the plan based on NPS comments in order to be approved by the December 31st deadline.

Once approved, the plan is published.

Plan is adopted officially as Delaware’s statewide historic preservation plan by the State Review Board for Historic Preservation
A digital version is posted on HCA’s web site
Hard copies are printed for distribution
Work with partners to implement the strategies

2007 Preservation Planning Meeting



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By this time next year, Delaware will have a new historic preservation plan.

What do you want to see in it?