Historic preservation pays dividends for Rhode Island's economy, its environment and its quality of life, according to a statewide study commissioned by The Preservation Society of Newport County and Preserve Rhode Island. The report by nationally-recognized economist Donovan Rypkema of Place Economics is the first to analyze Rhode Island's preservation sector on four main themes: Heritage Tourism, Historic Tax Credits, Quality of Life, and Sustainability.
The study was released today during a breakfast briefing at The Breakers attended by more than 100 people, including RI House and Senate legislative leaders, local officials, and statewide tourism, museum and preservation leaders.
"What we found is Rhode Island's historic cities, towns, and neighborhoods attract visitors, residents, businesses, and investment," said Rypkema. "The assets of past centuries are the base of a 21st century economy and are often locations of choice for today's Rhode Islanders."
Among the key findings:
The findings were welcomed by those in attendance. Senate Finance Committee Chairman William J. Conley, Jr., reminded the crowd, "History is at the core of Rhode Island's soul....We need to invest and preserve it."
"In 1956, Preservation Society founder Katherine Warren said 'Historic preservation is an economic asset as well as an aesthetic one.' This report proves how visionary she really was," said Preservation Society CEO & Executive Director Trudy Coxe. "Historic preservation has become an important economic driver for the state and investing in our historic resources is a direct investment in our future."
"The study is the first of its kind here in Rhode Island, taking a comprehensive look at the diverse ways in which our lives are positively impacted by historic preservation," commented Preserve Rhode Island's Executive Director Valerie Talmage. "It is exciting that quantifiable results reinforce what members of the preservation community have seen anecdotally for many years."
Funding for the study was provided by the van Beuren Charitable Foundation, Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
If you're interested in reading more about the study, you can find it at https://www.preservationstudyri.org/