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Historic preservation is most successful when it is a collaborative effort of public and private organizations. The most effective program includes:
The following organizations are major players involved in historic preservation in Hunterdon County. This is not an exhaustive list.
- The protection of historic structures and objects from public and private encroachments.
- The study of historic events and structures, information sharing, and public outreach programs.
- The restoration, rehabilitation and/or renovation of historic structures and objects.
Hunterdon County Cultural & Heritage Commission
The Cultural & Heritage Commission is appointed by the County Board of Chosen Freeholders and is responsible for promoting local cultural and historic programs. The Commission offers small grants to municipalities and non-profit organizations for cultural and historic preservation projects. The Chairman of the Commission is the designated County Historian.
Municipal Historic Preservation Commissions
Municipal historic commissions are created pursuant to enabling legislation in the Municipal Land Use Law. Commissions are responsible for reviewing development activity within a designated historic district. Permitted activities within these designated sites or districts vary and are restricted in accordance with the ordinance. Typically, local ordinances require that new development be compatible with historic structures by incorporating specific architectural and design elements into the new construction. The removal or destruction of historic structural elements of a building may also be restricted. There are several municipal historic commissions in Hunterdon County that operate pursuant to the Municipal Land Use Law.
A municipality may appoint a person(s) to be the Local Historian, pursuant to the Local Historians Enabling Act of 1979. This volunteer position is responsible for acquiring and documenting information regarding local history. The Local Historian works cooperatively with other historic organizations and assists in the preparation of grant in aid applications. There are approximately 17 designated municipal historians in Hunterdon County and one County Historian.
Historical Societies and Museum Associations
Historical societies and museum associations are non-profit organizations that have historic preservation work programs tailored to the needs of their community or museum. As a non-profit organization, they may apply for grants for historic preservation projects. They typically sponsor fund-raising activities to promote preservation projects and host seminars and presentations for the general public. The Hunterdon County Historical Society has a large membership and is located in the 19th century Greek Revival Doric House. The Society hosts regular activities, publishes a quarterly newsletter and has a library open to the public on a weekly basis for genealogical and local history research. Other historical organizations include the Hunterdon County Museum Association in the Town of Clinton.
Hunterdon County Planning Board
The Hunterdon County Planning Board is a repository for local historic preservation ordinances and maintains a current inventory of districts and structures listed on the State and National Register of Historic Places. The Board has a small library of historic preservation material that may be circulated upon request. The Board also assists the County Board of Freeholders in the preparation of state and federal grants for historic preservation projects.
New Jersey Historic Preservation Office
The New Jersey Historic Preservation Office is in the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Parks and Forestry. The Office reviews development activity that encroaches on State and Nationally Registered properties and reviews nominations for new registered properties. It reports its findings to the NJ Historic Sites Council and the NJ State Review Board for Historic Sites, respectively. In New Jersey, the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), is the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) . The SHPO gives final authorization for new State registered districts or structures and project authorization for encroachments upon New Jersey registered properties.
New Jersey Historical Commission
The New Jersey Historical Commission promotes historic research and education projects through information sharing and grant programs. Commission members are appointed by the Governor. Four different grants programs are offered ranging from mini-grants (< $3,000) to larger research, general operating support and special project grants. The larger grants typically do not exceed $20,000.
New Jersey Historic Trusts
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The New Jersey Historic Trust was created in 1967 as a non-profit historic preservation organization created by State law. Trustees are appointed by the Governor. The Trust provides support and protection of historic New Jersey resources through several programs. The recently passed Garden State Historic Preservation Trust Fund guarantees historic preservation grants for a period of ten years, or until the year 2010. These grants fund capital preservation projects (construction, or "bricks and mortar" projects), similar to the previous Historic Preservation Bond Program. This grant also funds site management projects which includes operating costs and feasibility studies. The NJ Historic Trust Fund offers a revolving loan fund that requires matching funds and an easement program that ensures the permanent protection of private properties through deed restrictions.
Provided by the Hunterdon County Planning Board