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Nominations being accepted for 40th annual Ida Lee Willis Foundation Historic Preservation Awards

Nominations are now being accepted for the 40th Annual Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Historic Preservation Awards, Kentucky’s most distinguished celebration of historic preservation excellence. Named for Kentucky’s first state historic preservation officer, the awards are given for the protection, preservation, and rehabilitation of historic buildings and cultural resources.

The 40th-anniversary ceremony will take place this May in Frankfort during National Historic Preservation Month. The awards recognize contributions to preserving our collective heritage at the local level and throughout the Commonwealth via personal commitment, investment, advocacy, volunteerism, building partnerships, public involvement, lifelong dedication, or significant achievement. The foundation hosts the event in partnership with the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office (KHC).

Ida Lee Willis

Awards are presented in four categories, and all nominations must be received in the KHC office or postmarked by Monday, April 22. For guidelines, nomination form, submittal instructions, and more about previous recipients, visit www.heritage.ky.gov.

The Ida Lee Willis Memorial Award goes to the individual who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the cause of historic preservation in the Commonwealth. Last year, Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Bill Cunningham of Kuttawa was honored for his work as a historian, author, and preservation advocate.

Preservation Project awards honor outstanding examples of building or site rehabilitation, restoration, and adaptive reuse. 2018 project awards went to Fayette County Courthouse, Hotel Covington, and the George W. Robson Jr. House in Bellevue.

Service to Preservation awards recognize individuals, organizations, nonprofits, public officials, financial institutions, news media, volunteers, and others whose contributions have had a positive impact on preserving historic and prehistoric resources. In 2018 these included a heritage program manager for Daniel Boone National Forest, the owner of multiple historic buildings in Paint Lick, and a retired KHC restoration project manager who has remained committed to teaching and propagating traditional preservation trades.

Grassroots Awards are given at the selection committee’s discretion and celebrate those who have committed their personal time and resources to successfully take on a challenge that addresses a preservation issue at the local level. Last year these were awarded for the rehabilitation of a 1928 high school into the Caneyville Purple Flash Community Center, and for fundraising by the New Castle Grand United Order of Odd Fellows Washington Lodge No. 1513 Preservation Consortium.

The memorial foundation was chartered in 1979 to honor the late Mrs. Willis, the first executive director of the Kentucky Heritage Commission (now KHC), which was created by the state Legislature in 1966 following passage of the National Historic Preservation Act. Current board members are Stephen L. Collins of Shelbyville, chair; William Averell of Frankfort, vice chair; Barbara Hulette of Danville, secretary; Robert Griffith of Louisville, treasurer; and Christopher J. Black, Paducah; Marion Forcht, Corbin; Jolene Greenwell and Charles W. Stewart, Frankfort; Alice Willett Heaton, Bardstown; David L. Morgan and Charles Parrish, Louisville; Donna Horn-Taylor, Springfield; and Milton and Anne Thompson, Washington, D.C.

Kentucky Heritage Council

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