2011 Heritage Nebraska Preservation Award Winners Announced

August 3, 2011

Heritage Nebraska Preservation Award Winners Announced

Heritage Nebraska recognized outstanding achievement in historic preservation at the Heritage Nebraska Annual Awards dinner on Friday, July 22, 2011 at Chances R in York, Nebraska.

"The work of Nebraska preservationists is best reflected in their daily activities and the influence they have on, not only the preservation movement, but the quality of life in general," said J.L. Schmidt, Executive Director of Heritage Nebraska. "The people and projects reflect the best efforts to maintain the essential character of Nebraska."

Heritage Nebraska educates and engages community leaders regarding the economic benefits and importance of
preservation; trains volunteers, business leaders and property owners in established best practices; provides vision to help communities identify their assets and help to find the resources needed to make great things happen; and links communities and individuals to the nationwide network and resources of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The 2011 preservation award winners include:

In the category of EDUCATION, recognizing educators and citizen preservationists who have provided educational programming to students and the general public about historic preservation: the winner is Roxanne Smith, the Nebraska State Capitol Tour Guide Director. Day in and day out she is responsible for the tours given to visitors to the Nebraska State Capitol building. She is the first touch that thousands of Nebraska School kids have to not only the amazing Capitol Building but also historic preservation. Even adults - often people from out of state - who tour that architectural wonder we call our state capitol.

In the category of OUTREACH, recognizing an individual or organization that has done the most to spread the word about historic preservation: the winner is Restore Omaha for its six solid years of presenting an annual workshop for homeowners and preservationists as well as various activities such as the 10-10-10 tour (ten buildings on October 10th in 2010). This year's conference was the largest ever and reached hundreds of residents to instruct them in the ways of historic preservation at a grassroots level through educational sessions and hands-on demonstrations. The conferences have featured a variety of experts in the field from the affable Bob Yapp who teaches traditional building arts to the economic guru Donovan Rypkema who preaches preservation-based economic revitalization.

In the category of STEWARDSHIP, concerning the care and maintenance over time of a historic property or properties: the winner is the Nebraska State College System for preservation and stewardship of the three historic Nebraska State College campuses at Chadron, Peru and Wayne. A historic preservation ethic is emphasized for each campus and everyone, from maintenance personnel to top administrators, appreciates and recognizes the historical significance of the buildings and grounds. From the high plains of the Panhandle's Chadron State College, to northeast Nebraska's Wayne State College and down to the campus 1,000 Oaks in Peru, the state college system is a steward of Nebraska's Heritage.

The PRESERVATION award recognizes an outstanding or noteworthy preservation building rehab project. This year's winner was a slam dunk once the scaffolding was removed and the landscaping work begun. The winner is the Nebraska State Capitol Masonry Repair Project. Years in the making and millions of dollars later, the nation's most beautiful state capitol is standing tall and proud. A true feat of historic preservation, the building has rehabilitated to original standards from the very foundation to the top of the Sower's head. The building represents a true icon for the entire state, standing as tall and proud in Eastern Nebraska as historic Chimney Rock stands in the Panhandle.

New this year is the YOUNG PRESERVATIONIST award recognizing the person or group under age 35 who have made a notable contribution to preservation in Nebraska and represents the future of preservation in the state. The winner is Chase Becker of West Point. He has conducted tours of historic rural churches in several counties, maintains an awesome website of images from many of those churches and has been actively involved in the National Register nomination of and an on-going re-use of the old West Point Municipal Auditorium.