The Importance of Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission

RI Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission

Historic preservation is the stewardship of the past through the planning and management of buildings, sites, districts, and neighborhoods. It pays dividends in heritage tourism, tax credits, and quality of life.

Acting Director Emidy has worked in preservation for 22 years. He has experience in National Register project review, preservation management and advocacy.

Local Historic Districts

If you have watched a neighborhood change with new construction or seen your house painted a garish color and wished there was a law to stop it, you can understand the reason for local historic districts. Unlike the National Register of Historic Places, which simply recognizes the importance of a site or district, local districts usually have restrictions that limit alterations and demolition.

One way a local preservation commission protects historic districts is by acting as a design review board that requires owners to get a certificate of appropriateness before doing any work to their homes in a district. The rules vary from district to district, but are generally based on historic preservation standards and guidelines.

The best way to ensure people who live in a historic district know about the restrictions is through ongoing public education efforts. This can include educating real estate agents, adding district status to property listings, mailing listing notices with tax or water bills, forming neighborhood association “welcome committees” and other methods.

National Register Properties

The RIHP&HC surveys, nominates and protects historic buildings, districts, sites, structures and objects by: surveying and preparing National Register nominations; providing grants, loans, tax credits and education programs; reviewing Federally funded or licensed projects that affect archaeological resources; regulating exploration on state land; and implementing the cultural heritage provisions of the state’s Historic Preservation Act.

Properties that are listed in the National Register are evaluated based on their significance in culture, architecture, archaeology and engineering history in America. They may also be significant for their association with important events in American history and/or their association with a nationally recognized individual.

National Register properties are grouped into five general categories: district, site, structure and object. A building is any construction that provides shelter for human activities and can be either a commercial or residential structure. Examples include homes, libraries and theaters. A structure is a functional construction that serves a purpose other than shelter, such as a lighthouse or railroad car.

Advisory Services

The RI Historic Preservation and Heritage Commission provides advisory services to citizens, developers and local government in the preservation of Rhode Island’s historic resources. These include listing properties in the National Register of Historic Places, administering grants and loans for preservation projects, regulating construction in designated Historic Districts, certifying state tax credits, and developing heritage programming to educate citizens about the value and importance of our historic assets.

This non-profit organization promotes and protects Providence’s unique history through research, preservation, education, tours, lectures and other programs. Founded in 1822, RIHS is a private endowed membership organization.

DISCLAIMER: The listings in our Preservation Services Directory do not constitute an endorsement by Preserve RI. Clients are encouraged to request information about experience and fees from preservation service providers before hiring any entity. The information in this database was self-reported by the individuals and companies listed. Preserve RI has not verified the qualifications or professional licensure of any of these individuals or businesses.

Contact Us

Several recent studies have shown that preservation helps to revitalize neighborhoods and promote economic growth. For additional information please contact Commission staff. Meeting agendas and minutes for the Heritage Preservation Commission are available through our document management porthole.

The Rhode Island Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission (RIHPHC) operates a statewide historical preservation program that identifies and protects historic buildings, districts, archological sites, and develops and carries out programs to document, support, and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of the people of the state. Features information about the National Register of Historic Places, project review, survey and preservation research, grants, rehabilitation tax credits & loans and heritage programs.

RIHPHC has appointed Jeffrey Emidy as the new executive director. He has worked in historic preservation for 22 years and was previously at RIHPHC as an assistant and then as a project review coordinator and a Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer. Emidy holds a master’s degree in historic preservation from the University of New Hampshire.

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