ORA seeks public input on historic buildings use

From staff reports

The Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism is seeking public input for a survey that will collect information on historically and culturally significant buildings owned by nonprofits, religious organizations and municipalities with capacity to offer rental space.

The space, according to the ORA, could be short-term uses, such as meetings and workshops, or long-term purposes, such as office and work space. The goal of the survey is to identify available spaces then market them, which will drive needed revenue to the organizations that own the properties.

“I believe the results of the project will be a resource for people and organizations looking for unique meeting and work spaces,” ORA Heritage Program Manager Jenn Burden said.

“Many historic buildings in the Oil Region National Heritage Area have the capacity for additional uses that could yield new revenue sources and attention for the organizations that own them.”

The idea for the project evolved from the January 2020 town hall meeting in Franklin held in conjunction with Partners for Sacred Places, a national, nonsectarian, nonprofit. However, COVID-19 pandemic restrictions delayed the project.

According to Burden, Partners for Sacred Places focuses on building the capacity of congregations of historic sacred places to better serve communities as anchor institutions, nurturing transformation, and shaping vibrant, creative communities.

To suggest a property that is more than 50 years old, culturally or historically significant, and owned by a nonprofit such as a church or municipality, go to www.surveymonkey.com/r/CulturalResourceSurvey.

The link also will be available on the ORA’s Facebook page and will be open until April 30.

The ORA received grant funding for the project from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and the National Park Service. The Markosky Engineering Group compiled the research.

For more information, email jburden@oilregion.org.