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September 01, 2006:
"Preserve America communities demonstrate that they are committed to preserving America's heritage while ensuring a future filled with opportunities for learning and enjoyment," Mrs. Bush said. "This community designation program, combined with the Preserve America Presidential Awards and Federal support, provides strong incentives for continued preservation of our cultural and natural heritage resources. I commend Charles County and its leaders for their commitment to preserving an important part of our Nation's historic past for visitors, neighbors, and, most importantly, for children."
The Charles County Commissioners received a letter of designation signed by Mrs. Bush, First Lady of the United States and Honorary Chair of Preserve America, that Charles County is now a Preserve America Community. The Preserve America initiative is a new White House effort to encourage and support community efforts for the preservation and enjoyment of America's 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.
Communities designated through the program receive national recognition for their efforts. Other benefits include appropriate use of the Preserve America logo on signs and promotional materials; notification to media, State tourism offices, and visitor bureaus; and listing in a Web-based directory to showcase preservation efforts and highlight heritage tourism destinations. Charles County is now also eligible to apply for grants under the Preserve America Grants Program administered by the Department of the Interior. These matching fund grants of $20,000 to $150,000 go on a competitive basis to heritage tourism initiatives, promotion and marketing programs, and interpretive/ educational initiatives involving historic resources.
"You are pioneers in this initiative, which shows just how proud the people of Charles County are of their County, State and their place in our Nation's history," Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton said. "Each community's unique and diverse stories are part of the larger chapter of American heritage, culture and values. It is by visiting and experiencing these special places that we have an opportunity to touch the past, and can best understand how the past touches us."
The Department of the Interior partners with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to administer the Preserve America Community program on behalf of the Office of the First Lady. For more information and updates on the initiative, you can visit http://www.PreserveAmerica.gov/ .