U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns marked the second anniversary of the Preserve America initiative by announcing that Preserve America communities will be given priority consideration for community facility funding projects that support efforts to preserve and enjoy America's priceless culture and natural heritage.

"There are significant economic, educational and cultural benefits that historic preservation provides, especially to rural communities," said Johanns. "Sustainable preservation is not a cost for maintaining the past, it is an investment in the future. Rural communities that are dedicated to historic preservation will be rewarded for their vision for the future, as their efforts help revitalize their local economy and sense of community pride."

The Preserve America initiative, announced by Mrs. Laura Bush on March 3, 2003, is a White House effort to encourage and support community efforts for the preservation and enjoyment of America's priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the initiative include a greater shared knowledge about the nation's past; strengthened regional identities and local pride; increased local participation in preserving the country's cultural and natural heritage assets; and support for the economic vitality of communities.

To date, more than 220 communities in 37 states have received the designation as Preserve America communities and will be considered for priority funding under the Rural Development Community Facilities program.

Source: Government Release