The Village of Palestine has been recently honored by the White House for their efforts to beautify their community and preserve America's heritage.
First Lady Laura Bush designated Palestine as one of the nation's newest Preserve America Communities.
"Preserve America Communities demonstrate that they are committed to preserving America's heritage while ensuring a future filled with opportunities for learning and enjoyment," Bush said. "This community designation program, combined with the Preserve America Grant Program, Preserve America Presidential Awards, and other federal support, provides strong incentives for continued preservation of our cultural and natural heritage resources. I commend you for your commitment to preserving an important part of our nation's historic past for visitors, neighbors, and, most importantly, for children."
Palestine Mayor Pat Schofield said the village received a letter telling them of their designation and will soon receive a certificate signed by Mrs. Bush announcing Palestine is now a Preserve America Community. Communities designated through the program receive national recognition for their efforts.
"We are recognized as the oldest town in the state," Schofield said. "We were recognized for our efforts to preserve our Main Street with projects like the Fife Opera House and the Art Center. Many people have worked to preserve the nostalgic quality of Main Street and this is recognition for all of their efforts."
Benefits include the right to use the Preserve America logo on signs and promotional materials; eligibility for Preserve America Grants; notification to state tourism offices; and listing in an Internet based directory that showcases Palestine's preservation efforts and heritage tourism destinations. Preserve America Communities are also featured in National Register Travel Itineraries and in "Teaching With Historic Places" curricular materials created by the National Park Service.
Schofield said that any of the organizations working to improve Palestine would be eligible for Preserve America grants now that the village has been recognized.
In 2006, Preserve America Grants totaling nearly $5 million were awarded to 68 projects around the country. Nearly $5 million will be awarded in 2007, as well. President George W. Bush's fiscal year 2008 budget requests $10 million in grant funds for which designated Preserve America Communities may apply. Grants of $20,000 to $150,000 are awarded on a competitive, matching fund basis to help communities develop sustainable management strategies and sound business practices for the continued preservation and use of their heritage assets. The grants support research, planning, marketing, interpretation, and training efforts.
The Preserve America initiative is a White House effort to encourage and support community efforts to preserve and enjoy 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.
"Sustainable historic preservation is a wise investment in the future, not a cost for maintaining the past. Communities and the nation receive significant economic, educational, and cultural benefits, including heritage tourism, in return for their preservation efforts," said John L. Nau, III, chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, which administers Preserve America programs for the White House in cooperation with the Department of the Interior.
The White House is working with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Transportation, the General Services Administration, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the President's Council on Environmental Quality, and the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities to implement Preserve America. For more information about the initiative and its programs, visit www.preserveamerica.gov.
Farmer's Market opens
The Palestine Farmer's Market, opening this growing season, has received an Advertising Grant from the Illinois Department of Agriculture. This grant will help Palestine in publicizing the Farmers' Market, helping to establish its availability.
Several local gardeners, as well as an organic gardener, have expressed interest in participating in the market.
There will be seasonal produce as the harvests begin, including fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs, as well as baked goods, and possibly an assortment of preserved foods.
The grant will serve to give public notice to those who not only will provide the products offered for sale, but to the consumers, as well. An area on Main Street in Palestine is being prepared for the Farmers' Market, which will be held on Saturday mornings.
The University of Illinois Extension Service assisted the Village of Palestine in securing this grant.