When it comes to regional historic preservation, your opinion matters

e live in a beautiful region.

Whether we like the way things are run or not, we cannot gainsay the value of our many local resources, both natural and those made by human hands.

A challenge has been given to us recently – to take a quick online survey for the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office.

This office will soon update the statewide plan to preserve historical resources and your opinions can play a role in the new plan.

Perhaps you didn’t know there was such a thing as a statewide preservation plan.

Perhaps you don’t care much about it.

Once you take a look at some of the survey’s questions, though, you are sure to find something you care about in the multiple-choice answers, whether it’s our heritage, our parks, our culture, or something else you value about your local hometown.

The survey also allows you to write your own answers to some questions, so that’s a great reason to check it out and tell this state agency what you think.

The questions include:

r Which of the following places best reflect what you value about your community? The answers include: trails, waterways, and natural areas; religious properties; residential neighborhoods; the downtown; schools; parks; farmland or forests.

r Which resources most enhance your community? The answers include: arts and cultural amenities; walkability; size; appearance; quality local government services; older and historic places; variety of recreational activities; quality of public education.

r What contributions do you think older and historic places make to your community or region? The answers include: They encourage sustainable, walkable, ‘green’ communities; they help sustain my community through heritage tourism; they help teach and remind us about the past.

r What challenges are there in your community to protecting older and historic places in your community? The answers include: loss of population; little or no funding; little or no advocates at the local or regional level; demolition of older buildings for new construction; neglect/abandonment of older buildings; little or no community pride.

r Do you believe that public funds should be used to support historic preservation?

Many of us are rather tired of being asked to share our opinions about a store we visit, a website we click on, or a business we phone for customer service.

This particular survey does more than offer us a remote chance of winning a prize – it gives us a direct connection to planners who, we trust, want to do their best to help our towns.

Make that connection at: www.surveymonkey.com/r/PA_community_connections

When you are done, post the website on Facebook or your favorite social media and challenge your friends to take the survey as well.

And, if you have questions, shoot an email to Elizabeth Shultz (who is from Lockport, by the way) at elishultz@pa.gov.