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Kentucky Heritage Council
‘Capitalizing on Culture’ conference Aug. 1-2 in Pikeville to focus on heritage tourism, place making and economic development through historic preservation

Press Release Date:  Friday, June 27, 2014  
Revision Date:  Friday, June 27, 2014 
Contact Information:  Diane Comer
(502) 564-7005 Ext. 120

Kentucky Heritage Council logo    SOAR logo

Frankfort, Ky. – A two-day training and educational outreach conference focused on heritage tourism, place making and economic development through historic preservation is planned Aug. 1-2 in Pikeville, the third entry in the 2014 Kentucky Preservation Series. “Capitalizing on Culture” is presented by the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office (KHC), Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) and Community Trust Bancorp Inc.

This free event will take place at Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center, 126 Main Street. The conference will explore the benefits of nonprofit advocacy, pumping life back into traditional downtowns, cemetery preservation and genealogical tourism, and identifying themes that can help the region link unique places and create heritage tourism opportunities by telling an authentic story. The public is invited to join local Main Street managers, business and community leaders, individuals and others interested in working collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders.

Other presenting partners are Preservation Kentucky Inc. (PKI), the Kentucky Main Street Program, Friends of Kentucky Main Street, Pikeville Main Street Program, the City of Pikeville and Pike County.

Pikeville“Eastern and southeastern Kentucky have incredible historic buildings and natural resources, along with rich cultural traditions,” said Craig Potts, KHC executive director and state historic preservation officer. “These attributes can be used more effectively to grow local economies and create jobs through heritage tourism programming. As a state agency whose goals align closely with SOAR’s, we see this as an important opportunity to involve the citizens of the region, and obtain their input, about how best to strengthen their communities by looking at these resources in new ways.”

The keynote session and panel discussion Friday, Aug. 1, will explore regional collaboration between sites and businesses in eastern and southeastern Kentucky that focus on heritage-related tourism such as restaurants, small businesses and lodging. The National Park Service “Discover Our Shared Heritage” Travel Itinerary Series will be discussed as a vehicle to tie these together in a way that can be packaged and nationally branded to facilitate a well-rounded experience. The travel series spotlights a wide range of communities, geographic regions and themes across the country, and each itinerary exposes travelers from around the world to diverse places that are significant in American history, architecture and culture.

Also Friday will be a discussion on preservation advocacy led by Betsy Hatfield, PKI executive director, followed by a roundtable discussion with representatives of regional and local preservation nonprofits discussing how their efforts to protect shared heritage, and educate and foster economic development through historic preservation, have lasting benefits. Discussion will include the fate of Pikeville’s York House, a Queen Anne-style home dating from 1864-70 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

On Saturday, Aug. 2, the focus will be on place making and interactive discussions related to community building through branding and promotion. The keynote session will be led by Griffin Van Meter of Bullhorn Creative, who will discuss his successful statewide media business and specific place making promotions in the Lexington neighborhood where he lives and works. Like-minded individuals from across the southeast region, creative entrepreneurs who have “Capitalized on Culture” in their own successful business enterprises, will follow with a panel discussion on finding success through nontraditional enterprises such as Summit City Lounge in Whitesburg.

Other Saturday presentations will examine cemetery preservation, including best practices to preserve and interpret historic burial grounds and a look at the significant role that genealogy-based heritage tourism can play in the economy of the region; historic Main Streets, an interactive look at the evolution and revitalization of Main Streets and downtowns, highlighting Kentucky Main Street Program communities from eastern Kentucky; and tax credits for historic buildings, case studies on the basics of utilizing federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credits to help building preservation and rehabilitation projects do more and go further with limited funding.

For conference updates and program information, visit

Hampton Inn of Pikeville is serving as the conference hotel, with rooms available for $94 per night through July 23 (ask for conference rate). For information or reservations, call (606) 432-8181.

For more about NPS heritage tourism travel itineraries, visit

The SOAR initiative was launched by Gov. Steve Beshear and U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers in late 2013, after a stunning downturn in the coal market exacerbated historic challenges in eastern Kentucky related to unemployment and poverty.  SOAR is intended to help the region develop and put into action new locally-oriented strategies to attack persistent challenges. For more information, visit

Community Trust Bancorp logo    Kentucky Main Street Program logo

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An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of archaeological resources and historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens. This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life.


Last Updated 6/27/2014