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National Security Executive Order

Preserve America

Built in 1914, historic Hotel San Diego is slated for demolition to make way for the Federal Courthouse project.


The following is an excerpt from President George W. Bush's March 3, 2003 National Security Executive Order to Preserve America.

It is the policy of the Federal Government to provide leadership in preserving America's heritage by actively advancing the protection, enhancement, and contemporary use of the historic properties owned by the Federal Government, and by promoting intergovernmental cooperation and partnerships for the preservation and use of historic properties. The Federal Government shall recognize and manage the historic properties that can support department and agency missions while contributing to the vitality and economic well-being of the Nation's communities and fostering a broader appreciation for the development of the United States and its underlying values. Where consistent with executive branch department and agency missions, governing law, applicable preservation standards, and where appropriate, executive branch departments and agencies shall advance this policy through the protection and continued use of the historic properties owned by the Federal Government, and to promote the preservation of the unique cultural heritage and to realize the economic benefit that these properties can provide. Agencies shall maximize efforts to integrate the policies, procedures, and practices of the National Historic Preservation Act Economic (NHPA).

Building Preservation Partnerships. When carrying out its mission activities, each shall seek partnerships with State and local governments, Indian tribes, and the private sector to promote local economic development and vitality through the use of historic properties in a manner that contributes to the long-term preservation and productive use of those properties. Encourage, support, and foster public-private initiatives and investment in the use, reuse, and rehabilitation of historic properties, to the extent such support is not inconsistent with other provisions of law, the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Archeology and Historic Preservation.

Development initiatives, including heritage tourism, taking into account agency mission needs, public access considerations, and the long-term preservation of the historic properties. No later than September 30, 2004, each covered agency shall complete a report of the assessment and make it available to the Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (Council) and the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary).

Each agency with real property management responsibilities shall, by September 30, 2005, and every third year thereafter, prepare a report on its progress in identifying, protecting, and using historic properties in its ownership and make the report available to the Council and the Secretary.

No later than June 30, 2003, the head of each agency shall designate a senior policy level official to have policy oversight responsibility for the agency's historic preservation program and notify the Council and the Secretary of the designation. Each agency shall ensure that the management of historic properties in its ownership is conducted in a manner that promotes the long-term preservation and use of those Federal properties as assets and contributes to the local community and its economy.

The Council is directed to use its existing authority to encourage and accept donations of money, equipment, and other resources from public and private parties to assist other agencies in the preservation of historic properties in Federal ownership to fulfill the goals of the NHPA and this order.

The National Park Service shall make available existing materials and information for education, training, and awareness of historic property stewardship to ensure that all Federal personnel have access to information and can develop the skills necessary to continue the productive use of Federally owned historic properties.

To the extent permitted by law, the Secretary of Commerce, working with the Council and other agencies, shall assist States, Indian tribes, and local communities in promoting the use of historic properties for heritage tourism and related economic development in a manner that contributes to the long-term preservation and productive use of those properties. Agencies shall use historic properties in their ownership to foster viable economic partnerships, including cooperation and coordination with tourism officials and others with interests in the properties.


Editor's note It's too bad the Federal Courthouse project refuses to comply with the President's order. The National Trust, the City of San Diego Historic Resources Board and SOHO have refused to sign the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), with General Services Administration (GSA).

2003 - Volume 34, Issue 2

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