ON-Lion Letter

American cities are enjoying something of a renaissance.  Today, 80% of Americans and counting live in an urban area.  Americans -- especially younger Americans -- are increasingly looking to make their homes in our big cities.  And according to a U.S. Census analysis released last year, Milwaukee is growing faster than any other city in the Great Lakes region.

In the context of these trends, Stephanie K. Meeks, president and chief executive officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, delivered a lecture in Milwaukee in March about the critical role that historic buildings play in creating jobs, strengthening neighborhoods, spurring revitalization, and expanding prosperity.  Meeks presented compelling new research from the National Trust on the social and economic impact of older buildings. 

She mentioned that the preservation of its historic buildings is making Milwaukee a "hot spot" among those under 35 years old.  She also emphasized key policy tools, including historic tax credits, that states and municipalities can use to foster economic growth. 

Meeks explained how getting the most out of historic and older buildings moves cities forward, makes them more dynamic and livable, and should form a central part of any strategy for urban development, in Wisconsin and across the nation.

"Preservation is about keeping buildings in active use, and keeping historic neighborhoods alive and continuing to grow," she concluded, with the "younger people who will be our economic engine moving forward."
 
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee has always substantially supported preservation of the city's historic buildings, including many mentioned during the event by Meeks and members of a panel that followed her talk.  The Bradley Foundation is headquartered in one of Milwaukee's history buildings, as well -- The Lion House.

The event, "Older Buildings, Livable Cities," was the fourth of 10 events in a five-year series on historic preservation co-sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's School of Architecture & Urban Planning's Historic Preservation Institute and the Milwaukee Preservation Alliance

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