U.S. Department of the InteriorDOI News Header
Office of the Secretary
May 22, 2007
Chris Paolino, 202-208-6416

Deputy Secretary Scarlett Presents Preserve America Community Designations, Speaks About Need for Cooperation in Land Management

COLUMBUS, OH – Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett today joined Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Installations and Environment Philip Grone in presenting the Preserve America Community designation to Piqua and the German Village neighborhood of Columbus on Tuesday, May 22 at a ceremony in Columbus.

“The story of America is written in her communities,” Scarlett said. “Every community has its own story. And these stories present opportunities for heritage tourism, education and historic preservation. We have honored Piqua and German Village for their efforts to tell their stories, to share with their residents the amazing history they are a part of, and to help others learn, build upon, and enjoy that history as well.”

Preserve America is a White House initiative that encourages and supports community efforts to preserve and enjoy our priceless cultural and natural heritage. The goals of the initiative include a greater shared knowledge about the nation's past, strengthened regional identities and local pride, increased local participation in preserving the country's cultural and natural heritage assets, and support for the economic vitality of our communities.

The Preserve America Community designations were presented during the Department of Defense’s Joint Service Environmental Management Conference, taking place in Columbus. Deputy Secretary Scarlett addressed the conference, discussing the need for continued cooperation and communication among all levels of government, as well as with private citizens, to foster long-term environmental protection while still maintaining energy development.

In her speech, Deputy Secretary Scarlett emphasized the need for better geospatial information sharing and landscape-scale land management practices through efforts such as cooperative conservation.

Additional Information about Piqua, OH:

Piqua (pop. 20,738) was founded circa 1793, when General Anthony Wayne built Fort Piqua. The village began in 1807 and operated under the control of Washington Township and was called the village of Washington. This name was unpopular with the settlers, so in 1816, the state legislature was petitioned to restore the town to its Indian name, Piqua. By the year 1823, the village formed a city government, and the city of Piqua (located in west central Ohio, 25 miles north of Dayton) was incorporated. It boasted a newspaper, several mills, a post office, and a population of 350. Throughout the years, the community had a rich history of textile mills, once being called the “underwear capital of the world.”

Today, Piqua residents offer downtown walking tours, with a 23-block section of the downtown that is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. A key project showing the city’s preservation ethic is the current restoration of the Fort Piqua Hotel, built in 1891. The development plan is for 45,000 square feet of the 85,000 square foot structure to be occupied by the Flesh Public Library. The project will include restoration of the former grand ballroom into a community banquet facility, with commercial space on the ground floor.

Additional information about the German Village neighborhood of Columbus, OH:

German Village, a neighborhood just south of the core of downtown Columbus, Ohio, is one of the most historic locales in the city. German immigrants began settling in Columbus in 1812, and by 1890 there were about 7,000 German-Americans in south Columbus. The German Village neighborhood’s narrow, brick streets, brick Italianate and Queen Anne homes, meticulous gardens, and ever-present sense of its own history remind current day residents and visitors of the past. Approximately 3,000 individuals reside in the 1,800 structures of German Village today.

A focal point of the community is Schiller Park, known for festivals and neighborhood activities since the early 1800s. Originally known as Stewart’s Grove, the area later was purchased by the city of Columbus and became known as City Park. A fountain was built and a lake excavated, and in 1891 the Villagers presented the park with a bronze statue of German poet Friedrich von Schiller, which had been cast in Germany. City Park then became known as Schiller Park. As the Village grew, the park became the location for Oktoberfest, family reunions, singing festivals, the Ohio State Fair, a zoo, and holiday celebrations. Ground was broken June 1993 for Huntington Gardens, the promenade on the west side of the statue.

The Huntington Garden Promenade is a model of partnership between public and private enterprises in the spirit of community reinvestment. Today the park is alive with garden tours, festivals, playgrounds, the work of Actors’ Theatre, which performs Shakespeare in the Park shows throughout the summer, and a newly renovated recreation center.

For additional information about cooperative conservation please visit www.cooperativeconservation.gov.

For additional information about Preserve America please visit www.preserveamerica.gov.

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