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May is Historic Preservation month in New Jersey, and the 23rd Annual Preservation awards were just presented by the State Historic Sites Council. Congratulations to the award recipients! See the original release with the list of winners from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection here.
The preservation process is one that entails planning, patience, and a give and take mentality. It is a very dynamic process involving property owners, stakeholders, and all levels of government. While preservation entails commitment of money, time, and local and governmental resources, it is often very rewarding. There are numerous federal and state laws that permit and assist in historic preservations. In addition, local governments are often involved in this process. When done properly, preserving historic sites can benefit everyone.
While the two concepts of development and preservation do not seem to be compatible, the fact is that many sites with historic artifacts and significance can, and should, be developed in a manner that reuses the structure by adaptively restoring it for the future while preserving the past. While the initial solution regarding historic sites and development is often to bulldoze our past, this knee jerk response is permanent and so often very regrettable. Though not all sites warrant preservation, certain sites do; Lieberman & Blecher, for instance, aided in the preservation of a Revolutionary War battlefield in Edison, NJ.
Historic Preservation is a vital part of sound and appropriate development here in New Jersey. Our firm has had substantial involvement in this process by representing many community organizations before local land use boards, as well as state and federal governments.