Plan Development

The Texas HIstorical Commission (THC) worked with local communitees to establish Texas' Statewide Preservation Plan (SWP). We designed a planning process from the ground up with public participation as our primary objective. With a public survey "kick-off" to public forums throughout the state, this process provided a variety of ways for partners to stay involved and informed. We wanted this plan and its process to be transparent. Check out the highlights of each step in our process, and click on the steps below to learn more, view reports and meeting minutes and see what went into creating this plan.

Step One: Exploring Preservation Issues

This phase consists of exploring the issues that impact the preservation of historic and cultural assets across the state. Our first step was to bring the Advisory Council and THC staff together to discuss what this plan could look like and how it could truly be a useful tool for preservation efforts across the state. These meetings also generated much dialogue about what is happening in preservation now and on the horizon, which this plan should address. Read the minutes from these meetings:

We officially kicked-off the public planning process in December 2009 with a web-based public preservation survey. The survey closed on February 7, 2010 with more than 1,000 people responding. Take a look at the results and see what people all across the state said about their local preservation strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Following up the survey, we held a roundtable discussion at Preservation Texas’ 2010 Preservation Summit on February 5, 2010. View the documentation from this roundtable. The roundtable was a unique opportunity to inform preservationists about the statewide plan, discuss the survey results and work though draft themes of the plan.

Step Two: Visioning and Goal Setting 

  • Hundreds of Texans contributed to the vision for preservation in Texas through our Vision Wall and Visioning Workshops at the THC’s Annual Historic Preservation Conference on April 22–24, 2010 in Houston.
  • The Statewide Plan Steering Committee and THC staff developed refined the vision, drafted goals and outcomes for the plan.

Step Three: Local Applications

Nine communities across the state hosted public planning forums during the summer of 2010 with more than 250 stakeholders attending. We heard their feedback on the draft vision and goals, shared local success stories and solutions and developed community applications for the plan. These meetings were in locations that represented the diverse geographic regions of Texas: Canyon, Canton, Beaumont, El Paso, Alpine, Brownsville, San Angelo, Austin, and our first web-based planning forum in Nacogdoches. We are grateful to our many partners who hosted these forums, including County Historical Commissions, Main Street Programs, Texas Heritage Trail Regions, universities, museums and city preservation offices. See below for a full list of the public forums and their hosts.

Stakeholders at these meetings represented a broad base of interests, organizations and agencies, a sampling of which included local County Historical Commissions (CHC), city landmark commissions and staff, Main Street programs and economic development organizations, museums, genealogical societies, staff from the National Park Service, staff from Texas Parks and Wildlife, architects, archeologists, planners, historians, tourism professionals, professors and students, local preservation advocacy organizations, arts organizations, the Texas Governor’s Office, interested residents, staff from the Mexican Consulate, and elected officials including mayors, judges, county commissioners, state Senators and Representatives.

Each forum began with the local host presenting a community preservation success story that could serve as a case study for one of the goals of the plan. A few examples of these cases studies include:

In Austin, the Travis County Historical Commission and Hicks and Company (a local environmental consulting firm) presented their recently completed Historic Resource Survey of Northeast Travis County, which focused predominantly on rural resources and cultural landscapes, illustrating the importance of the survey and cultural landscape goals.

In Canyon, the Canyon Main Street Program presented the full restoration of the Randall County Courthouse and its role as anchor of a revitalized downtown and courthouse square, emphasizing historic preservation and the Texas Historic Courthouse Preservation Program as an economic development tool.

In Brownsville, the Gorgas Science Foundation presented the restoration of the Alonso Building and its role in revitalizing the surrounding neighborhood. This case study emphasized the importance of creating partnerships that reach across disciplines. In this case, the Gorgas Science Foundation connected their mission of ecological conservation with preserving the historic built environment, which has resulted in many successful restoration projects in Cameron County. They have now developed a program teaching the craft of building restoration to building trades students at the University of Texas as Brownsville.

In El Paso, the El Paso County Historical Commission presented their work, in partnership with the Concordia Heritage Association and the Chinese Benevolent Society, to preserve and enhance the historic Chinese Section of Concordia Cemetery, articulating the cultural landscape goal as well as the value of cultural diversity.

Participants at each meeting discussed the draft elements of the plan, and then worked individually and in small teams to brainstorm success stories and develop local implementation ideas for each goal that was shared with the larger group. All the forums concluded with each stakeholder voting on the goals to illustrate individual, organizational, and regional priorities. These meetings were brought to life through video testimonials of participants.

Thank you to everyone who participated and especially to all of our local hosts for sponsoring these meetings. We could not have done this without you! Our meeting schedule included:

Canyon, Randall County
May 20, 2010
Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum
Hosts: Canyon Main Street Program and Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum

Canton, Van Zandt County
May 25, 2010
Canton Plaza Museum
Host: Canton Main Street Program

Beaumont, Jefferson County
June 15, 2010
Jefferson County Courthouse
Host: Jefferson County Historical Commission

El Paso, El Paso County
June 28, 2010
El Paso Museum of History
Host: El Paso County Historical Commission

Alpine, Brewster County
June 29, 2010
Museum of the Big Bend
Sul Ross State University

June 30, 2010
Planning Forum
Sul Ross State University
Hosts: Museum of the Big Bend and Brewster County Historical Commission

Nacogdoches, Nacogdoches County
Deep East Texas Web Planning Forum
July 8, 2010
Stephen F Austin State University, College of Education Annex
Hosts: Stephen F. Austin State University and Texas Forest Trail Region

Brownsville, Cameron County
July 15, 2010
The Alonso Building: Gorgas Science Foundation, Inc.
Hosts: City of Brownsville Historic Preservation Office, Brownsville Historical Association and Gorgas Science Foundation, Inc.

San AngeloTom Green County
July 22, 2010
Cactus Hotel
Host: Tom Green County Historical Commission

Austin, Travis County
July 28, 2010
Austin History Center