FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — June 14, 2010
Contact: Kent Bain, (662) 844-1276 OR Bobby King, (662) 844-1277
Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area
Supports National Awareness Effort
Tupelo, MS — The Mississippi Hills National Heritage Area is participating in a campaign to raise awareness of the effectiveness of the National Heritage Area model. The campaign, developed by the Alliance of National Heritage Areas (ANHA), a membership group dedicated to furthering the success of NHAs, includes local events within the 49 heritage areas spread throughout 32 states. The campaign culminates with a rally and press conference in Washington, DC, on June 15, 2010.
The campaign aims to raise local, state and national awareness of the success of the NHA model. In addition to the local events being held around the country, national efforts are underway, including letter-writing and photo campaigns, the latter being inspired by the National Trust for Historic Preservation's "This Place Matters" initiative.
The campaign slogan is "National Heritage Areas: Smart, Green and Working", which provides an excellent synopsis of the National Heritage Area movement, according to ANHA Chairman Michelle McCollum.
"Not only do we engage in smart growth practices but we also are a smart model for public private partnerships that leverage diverse investment into locally-driven initiatives. Heritage areas are also ‘green' through our efforts to preserve and adaptively reuse our built environment and to protect and build stewards of our nation's natural resources while also utilizing those resources as venues for our regions' economic growth and vitality. And we're ‘working' successfully to build coalitions, provide education and training on best practices and to ultimately create jobs," said McCollum.
Promoting Sustainable Economic Growth
An NHA is an area that contains historical, cultural, and natural resources that tell the vibrant story of the nation's evolution and culture. NHA's expand on traditional approaches to resource stewardship by supporting large-scale, community centered initiatives that connect local citizens to the preservation process.
Through modest federal investment, heritage areas have developed a model that builds sustainable partnerships and leverages significant and diversified investments into the areas they serve. On average, the NHA's leverage $5.50 for every dollar received by the federal government.
Across the country, national heritage areas are creating partnerships that include government agencies, philanthropic organizations, educational institutions, non-profit groups and private citizens — all engaged toward the same goal of preserving, protecting and ultimately improving the economic vitality of communities.
The National Heritage Area approach expands on traditional approaches to business development, tourism, education, conservation, preservation and recreation by creating networks committed to developing projects that are locally designed, locally implemented and locally sustained. Over the past year, the work of the national heritage areas continued to strengthen local economies and promote a pride of place among residents, showing a remarkable return on the federal investment to the program.
As the program matures and gains momentum, NHAs are being recognized as a stabilizing force for cultural and heritage based development and as an innovative approach to community revitalization and economic vitality. Their ability to bring about collaborative partnerships, leverage investment and build sustainable projects continues to strengthen as they establish and grow proven track records of success.
For more information on the National Heritage Area program, or the Alliance of National Heritage Areas, visit www.nationalheritageareas.com.
The MHNHA will hold its regular board of directors meeting at the Renasant Center for IDEAs in Tupelo Tuesday, June 15th at 10:30 a.m.