The Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation in Rural America
Local city government is always where policy meets reality. And ironically, local city government is the place where the deficits of the public administration system are most glaring. One policy that has surfaced over the last decades is the use of historic preservation ordinances and policy to help alleviate the problems affecting economically depressed areas of urban and rural communities. A policy is not practical unless it can be implemented with the resources available.
Over the last four decades, small rural city centers have experienced a sharp decline in their economies. Most have identified the move towards “big box” stores as one of the major influences in this decline. In response to this, one of the trends in these small rural communities has been to use historic preservation laws and ordinances to help stabilize property values and encourage use of these often-desolate parts of the community (Rykema 2005).