The East Tennessee Preservation Alliance (ETPA) has a mission to create meaningful connections throughout our region in order to nurture and save historic places. ETPA raises awareness about endangered properties, educates citizens and local officials about the economic development benefits of preservation, and works to assist with finding solutions for saving important places. ETPA launched the East Tennessee Preservation Toolbox in 2015 with a goal to inform all 16 counties in the region about preservation strategies available to their communities.
The East Tennessee Preservation Alliance works to preserve the structures and places with historic or cultural significance in our region.
“PLACES” STRATEGIC PLAN
In January 2015, ETPA launched its PLACES Strategic Plan for Historic Preservation in East Tennessee. PLACES is an acronym that stands for the five ways our organization fulfills its mission: Partnership, Leadership, Advocacy, Collaboration, Education and Strategies.
Partnership – The East Tennessee Preservation Alliance partners with Knox Heritage to serve as the regional arm for preservation activities in 16 counties. The Knox Heritage/ETPA relationship is important because Knox Heritage serves as the 501(c)3 nonprofit parent organization and provides direct staff assistance for regional activities through the Director of Preservation Field Services position. In turn, Knox Heritage offers additional staff, resources and years of expertise to assist with regional issues. This partnership allows Knox Heritage to focus on urban preservation issues and ETPA to focus on small town and rural preservation. Knox Heritage challenges ETPA to meet certain funding goals annually in order to continue advancing historic preservation education and advocacy as well as finding effective solutions to challenging issues throughout the region.
Leadership – Accomplishing the mission of the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance requires leadership from throughout the region at the local level. The ETPA board of directors is comprised of at least one representative from each of the 16 counties in the program area. A county may have up to three representatives on the board at any given time. ETPA works to maintain an active and engaged board by seeking preservation enthusiasts and professionals from each county, using the board members to connect with other leaders and organizations in their respective counties, and developing the next generation of preservation leadership. Preservation leaders are found working in heritage tourism, architecture and design, community and economic development and many other fields that strive to preserve and improve the quality of life for East Tennesseans.
Advocacy – ETPA advocates on issues of major importance to historic preservation in East Tennessee communities as needed. The board and staff may make position statements as well as work with other organizations in support for or recommendation of a particular cause or policy. Key to ETPA’s advocacy work is drawing attention to threatened historic sites through an annual endangered places list and recognizing preservation success stories through an annual awards program.
Collaboration – Preservation has more power when many individuals and organizations come together to share support, resources and information. No strategic plan for preservation in East Tennessee would be complete without collaborating with other organizations with similar interests and goals. While ETPA works with many local historic groups and sites, historic zoning commissions and individuals, certain regional collaborative partners are key as they serve the same 16 county program area: The Tennessee Historical Commission and East Tennessee Development District, East Tennessee Quality Growth, and the East Tennessee Historical Society.
Education – ETPA works to educate the public on the many benefits of historic preservation. These include distinct cultural, environmental and economic benefits. The education strategy for ETPA includes holding an annual preservation conference, working with publications such as Everything Knoxville, sharing on social media and being active and involved in the region through site visits, speaking engagements, technical workshops and tours. ETPA staff is ready to speak as requested to local historic zoning commissions, planning commissions, city councils, chambers of commerce, civic clubs, history groups and other organizations that may be interested in learning more about historic preservation issues.
Strategies – ETPA seeks to develop strategies for challenging historic preservation issues in the region. This may involve accessing Knox Heritage staff expertise, collaborating with multiple organizations, and/or connecting the right people and resources to have an impact. The primary strategy is to grow staff technical expertise as well as the ETPA network of local organizations and professionals who have diverse backgrounds in preservation problem-solving. Primary focus areas include: Historic Real Estate Intervention, Rural Preservation Strategies, Downtown Revitalization, Facilitation and Support Services, and Tax Credit Management.
Read the complete PLACES 2017 Strategic Plan HERE. Learn more about our activities by visiting our ETPA website pages on the left menu.
A BRIEF HISTORY
As Knox Heritage entered its 35th year advocating for preservation in Knox County, they began broadening the scope to include a regional focus. In 2008, Knox Heritage received a 3-year challenge grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) as part of their new Partners in the Field initiative. Knox Heritage was one of only 24 statewide and local partners of the NTHP to receive this prestigious award in the first round.
A task force of representatives from surrounding counties began meeting in late 2008 to strategize on implementing a regional preservation plan. In January 2009, over 75 people attended a public meeting at the East Tennessee History Center to continue brainstorming about creating a new regional preservation organization. By the summer, a new board of directors assembled to develop bylaws and long term plans for this new organization called the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance.
Thanks to the grant, Knox Heritage was able to provide staff and technical support for the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance. “Preservation fosters innovative solutions to complex problems”, said Richard Moe, past president of the NTHP. “Our Partners in the Field matching grants will help our network of preservation organizations across the country use proven tools to save places and revitalize communities. Our statewide and local partners, including Knox Heritage, are at the creative forefront of preservation in the 21st century.” The funds were used to expand the scope of on-the-ground field services and technical assistance to property owners, developers, local officials, and others needing information and tools to protect and enhance their communities.
Partners in the Field challenge grants were funded by a $5 million gift to the NTHP from the Robert W. Wilson Charitable Trust and matched by contributions of $10,000 or more from local donors and foundations. Knox Heritage secured generous grants from the Chapman Family Foundation, Ambassador and Mrs. Victor Ashe, Haslam Family Foundation, Clayton Family Foundation, and the Cornerstone Foundation. The East Tennessee Preservation Alliance Board of Directors is now charged with keeping the regional efforts funded and growing its impact.
The East Tennessee Preservation Alliance serves 16 counties in East Tennessee: Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Jefferson, Hamblen, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier and Union. On occasion, we are able to assist in other counties in East Tennesseee.
A SNAPSHOT OF ACTIVITIES
- Nine regional conferences hosted in Townsend, Rugby, Jonesborough, Gatlinburg, Maryville, Oak Ridge, Knoxville, Morristown and Clinton.
- 96 regional preservation awards have been presented since 2010.
- The Alexander Inn was removed from the “endangered heritage” list after a buyer and developer were secured with help from the Department of Energy and National Historic Tax Credits. Other properties removed from the endangered list include the LaFollette Post Office, Downtown Lenoir City, and Oak Grove School.
- “Developer Road Shows” have visited Knoxville, Maryville, Sweetwater, Morristown, Lenoir City, Jefferson City, Newport and Dandridge.
- A series of community “toolboxes” have visited Morristown, Maynardville, Jellico, Wears Valley, Oak Ridge and other places to discuss conservation easements, downtown revitalization, creating local historic districts among other topics.
- Regional Summer Suppers have been held at historic sites in Cumberland Gap, Chestnut Hill, Maryville, Jefferson City and Jefferson County, Sevier County, Morgan County, Grainger County, Morristown, Oak Ridge, Lenoir City, Norris and Elkmont in the Great Smoky Mountains.
ETPA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
- Scott Brooks, President
- Carroll McMahan, Vice President
- Barbara Garrow, Treasurer
- Gerry Myers, Secretary
Board Members by County:
- Anderson County – Wesley Lee, Stephanie Wells
- Blount County – Bob Patterson
- Campbell County – Gerry Myers, Olivia Robbins
- Claiborne County – Michael Toomey
- Cocke County – Claude Gatlin
- Grainger County – Toni Engstrom
- Hamblen County – Sally Baker, John Springer
- Jefferson County – Michael Evon, Barbara Avery Garrow; Chad Christian Rogers
- Knox County – Scott Brooks, Hallie Hearnes, Mickey Mallonee
- Loudon County – Linda Garner, Diane Powell
- Monroe County – Mary Chappell Crabtree
- Morgan County – Sara Goodman, Sharon Kreis, Mary Lou Henry
- Roane County – Ray Smith
- Scott County – open position
- Sevier County – Alvarrene Bridgeforth, Carroll McMahan
- Union County – Betty Bullen, Dr. Ronnie Mincey
Collaborative Partners Represented on the Board:
- Caroline Eller, Metropolitan Historic Zoning Commission (Nashville)
- Lindsay L. Crockett, East Tennessee Development District
- Cherel Henderson, East Tennessee Historical Society
- East Tennessee Quality Growth (Todd Morgan representing)
- Julie Graham, Middle East Tennessee Tourism Council (9 Lakes)