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Historic preservation has gained the interest of both the public and private sectors for its cultural and tangible benefits. Historic buildings and properties are preserved to protect important historic events and architecture. This cultural benefit is important for historical documentation, visual and aesthetic character, and for its contribution to future generations. For these reasons, historic preservation spurs a degree of civic pride and appreciation of local history.
Historic preservation also offers tangible benefits. The most obvious is the mere existence of the old structures - and the sense of permanence and community. Recently, it has become apparent that the rehabilitation of a historic structure often increases not only the value of the property, but the value of neighboring properties as well. As entire neighborhoods and downtowns have become involved in historic preservation efforts, their visually appealing landscape has spurred local tourism. Referred to as "heritage tourism", this new economic strategy is a welcome relief for Main Street America whose demise began as early as the 1970s.
Recent studies throughout the nation are revealing that historic preservation is an economic asset not only for suffering downtown areas, but for all communities. In 1997, a Rutgers University study, authorized by the Governor's Task Force on History, reported that historic preservation - the rehabilitation of historic structures, objects and properties - has far reaching economic benefits to local communities and the State of New Jersey. It produces jobs, fosters heritage tourism, spurs reinvestment, increases tax revenue, and provides business income.
Provided by Hunterdon County Planning Board on July 27, 2006.