Preservation Action, the national grassroots lobby for historic preservation, has named Preservation Pennsylvania’s Executive Director Mindy Crawford as the Preservation Hero of the Quarter.
Read their announcement below to learn more about Mindy and the important work that Preservation Pennsylvania has done to advocate for historic preservation policies.
There are many remarkable people on the front lines of preservation advocacy. Each quarter, we want to recognize a Preservation Action member who has made an impact and is an inspiration. They are our Preservation Action Heroes.
Mindy Gulden Crawford is the Executive Director of Preservation Pennsylvania, a statewide nonprofit preservation advocacy organization that assists individuals, organizations, corporations, and governmental agencies with their preservation-related efforts.
Preservation Pennsylvania works to secure the future of the past through educational outreach, legislative advocacy, advisory and technical assistance, and other special initiatives.
She has been in her current position since 2006. Prior to that, she was Executive Director of Historic York, Inc. (a county historic preservation nonprofit) for 20 years. She holds a BS in Business Administration from York College of Pennsylvania and an MA in Historic Preservation from Goucher College. She also serves on the boards of Preservation Action and the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions.
Mindy has been active in legislative advocacy at the state and federal level for most of her career, participating in National Preservation Advocacy Week, advocating for and against legislation at the state level, and maintaining relationships with Pennsylvania’s federal and state legislators.
The one constant has been the advocacy work she has done to establish Pennsylvania’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit. It took 16 years (8 2-year legislative sessions) to successfully establish the credit. While Pennsylvania was one of the first states to advocate for the credit, when it was established, it was the 23rd state to do so. The program was established in 2012 but with only a $3 million annual allocation and a limit of $500,000 per project. Still, after 16 years, it was a win. The credit is jointly administered by the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office, the Department of Community and Economic Development, and the Department of Revenue.
The process to establish the guidelines was complicated, but Mindy assisted in the review, provided input, and provided informational sessions about the credit along with PA SHPO and DCED staff. Once launched, it was quickly demonstrated that $3 million/year was too low. In a typical year, requests top $50 million.
The initial credit was written to sunset in 2020, so Mindy and her team started in early 2018 to reauthorize and make improvements to the credit. Working with key legislators, a hearing was held to demonstrate the value of the credit and the potential impact it would have if it were re-authorized and improved. With the assistance of several developers and good advice from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, a bill was introduced in 2019 to reauthorize, expand, and improve the usability.
Preservation Pennsylvania engaged Place Economics to undertake a study on the potential impact of an improved state credit. At the same time, the Pennsylvania Independent Fiscal Office did a study of the credit and rated it very high with one caveat. Its biggest shortcoming was that it is underfunded. Thanks to these two reports and lots of outreach, including a lobby day in Harrisburg, the bill passed as part of the budget in June 2019, one year ahead of the deadline with significant improvements.
- An increase in the annual allocation from $3 million to $5 million
- A 5% bump-up to 30% for Workforce Housing
- Clarification on the timing of the application process and the awarding of credits
- Clarification that the credit will not be subject to the provision in the federal program that the credit must be taken over 5 years
- Improved language and flexibility on the transfer of credits
- The requirement to collect data on completed projects that will assist in demonstrating the economic value of the credits
- Program extended to 2031
While the small increase from $3 million to $5 million annually was much less than hoped, the improvements to the language and program have corrected some critical issues.
Currently, work is beginning to correct one more issue with the credit that will legislate that LLCs with nonprofit partners can apply for and receive the credit. As always, work will continue to raise the annual allocation. Mindy did not plan to spend her entire career advocating for the Pennsylvania state tax credit but by default, she is the one people contact when they have a question or concern about the program’s current advocacy agenda.
Thank you, Mindy, for embodying what it means to be a Preservation Action Hero!
Thank you, Preservation Action, for this recognition!
About Preservation Action
Established in 1974, Preservation Action is the only national nonprofit dedicated exclusively to lobbying for the best preservation-friendly policies at the national level. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter for the latest updates on preservation policy.