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Whose Historic Renovation is Worthy of Awards? State Program Seeks Nominees

 Know of an empty or neglected historic structure that has been rehabilitated and put back into use? Or the owner of a historic home, commercial building or farm who has worked tirelessly to preserve it? How about an individual or advocacy group deserving of recognition for efforts to save a piece of local history such as a church, school, battlefield, cemetery or archeological site?

All of these are noteworthy – so nominate them for this year’s 37th annual Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Historic Preservation Awards. Submissions are now being accepted.

The awards are presented at the Governor’s Mansion each May, during National Historic Preservation Month, by the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation and Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office (KHC). Contributions can be through investment, advocacy, volunteerism, building partnerships, public involvement, lifelong commitment or significant achievement.

Award categories are Preservation Project, for outstanding examples of historic building restoration or rehabilitation, or for other projects that have furthered the preservation of Kentucky’s built environment; Service to Preservation, recognizing individuals, organizations, nonprofits, public officials, financial institutions, news media, volunteers and others whose contributions have had a positive impact in their communities; and the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Award, to the individual who has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the cause of historic preservation in the Commonwealth.

All nominations must be received or postmarked byFriday, April 17. For guidelines, nomination form, submittal instructions or more about previous recipients, visit

The Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation was chartered in 1979 to honor the late Ida Lee Willis, widow of former Gov. Simeon Willis and first executive director of the Kentucky Heritage Commission (now the Kentucky Heritage Council). Under her direction, the agency initiated the first statewide survey of historic resources and began nominating sites to the National Register of Historic Places.

From the Kentucky Heritage Council

Photos: The Upper Town Heritage Foundation of Paducah was honored in 2014 with a Service to Preservation Award for the organization’s long-term commitment to preserve and restore the Hotel Metropolitan, built in 1909, which hosted some of the most notable African American musicians, politicians and entertainers of the 20th century. (Provided)