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The Hawaii Capital Cultural Coalition statement regarding Condemnation:*

"The plan for the heritage area must ‘consider the interests of diverse units of the government, businesses, organizations, and individuals in the development of the plan.’ (S. 359, Sec. 4(a)(3)).  Any recommendations of this plan are developed through an extensive participatory community planning process and would be mutually agreed upon.”

We're not sure what this statement means, but the HCCC does not deny that recommendations in the management plan could lead to condemnation of properties.

In the Wheeling, West Virginia National Heritage Area:

“In Wheeling, the legislature designated the downtown area as a National Heritage Area in October 2000 when it passed the Wheeling National Heritage Act (WHNAA).  This act created the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corporation (WHNAC)** to manage and redevelop the area.  In 2002, The WHNAC proposed to convert 90 percent of downtown Wheeling into a ‘Victorian-themed outlet mall.’  This plan would have condemned properties and transferred them from their present owners to private retail businesses chosen by City officials (Berliner 2003)…”***

Read more about Wheeling (under "Private Use Condemnations")


In the Erie Canal National Heritage Area:

The City of Schenectady, N.Y., threatened condemnation of the property belonging to Janice Revella for the ... Erie Canalway Trail within the Erie Canal National Heritage Area.

(David Riley, “Tour de Schenectady - Local resident fights City Hall’s attempt to put a bike path in her  backyard” - Metroland, Albany, N. Y., Nov. 7, 2002)

In the National Coal Heritage Area:

     The people of Hinton wanted funds to repair a local road. They lobbied their legislators for several 
     years, and finally the federal funding came through.

     At that point, the National Park Service stepped in. Because the local road was in a Heritage Area, Park
     Service officials announced, the money would be used to create a Scenic Parkway. The Scenic Parkway
     called for condemning dozens of properties, forcing people out of their homes ... the very same people 
     who lobbied for the road repairs in the first place.

       (Tom Deweese, "Losing our Heritage, Our Land",  Environment and Climate News, The Heartland Institute, 
       Sept. 2002)

Cooperative agreements between the Secretary of the Interior, local government and the NHA’s managing group to support the National Heritage Area’s management plan are one of the ways by which condemnation can occur in a National Heritage Area in the name of economic development or preservation.

While the decision to condemn land ultimately rests with local government, the agreements mentioned above mean that recommendations to condemn by the NHA managing group will carry far more weight than those of other groups or non-profits in the area. 

So when someone says it is the City that condemns, not the managing group or that any group can make recommendations to condemn, that is technically true but the decision is practically guaranteed by the cooperative agreements between the Federal government, local government and the managing group.   

While managing groups in NHAs say that they do not manage land, the Congressional Research Service sees it a bit differently:

"[The managing group] typically develops and implements a plan for managing the NHA, in collaboration with other parties. Once approved by the Secretary of the Interior, the management plan becomes the blueprint for managing the area."

(CRS Report for Congress, Heritage Areas:  Background, Proposals, and Current Issues, June 7, 2006).



*As stated in their document “Hawaii Capital Cultural Coalition Response to Concerns Raised Regarding the Establishment of the Hawaii Capital National Heritage Area” (included in their April, 2010 update, Hali’imaile), p. 29.


**A non-profit entity.


***Draft of a proposed book, Unleashing Capitalism, p. 106.

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