Saving our homes. Preserving our land. Protecting our rights.
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Public Involvement

Public Involvement

NHAs are supposed to come about because residents of a region wish to take advantage of the program with knowledge, consideration and discussion of its various benefits and drawbacks.  Unfortunately, NHAs are often designated without the knowledge of members of the affected communities.  Yuma Arizona and The Northern Plains NHA in North Dakota are 
examples of this.  Special interest groups often pursue an NHA designation without the knowledge of the community at large.   

In Honolulu, very few people knew about the NHA initiative prior to legislation being introduced in Congress in 2009 (yet the HCCC had been working on it for six years).   Neighborhood boards in the proposed area were not told about the initiative until after it had been introduced in Congress (in most cases they were informed about it by means of a Resolution or letter asking for support of designation). 


The Feasibility Study

Public involvement in the Feasibility Study (the application for a Heritage Area) via public forums and discussion is one of the key criteria for NHA designation.  The proposed managing group is supposed to reach out to key stakeholders and constituencies. Click here to see attendance at the forums held by the HCCC in 2006.  It was following the September 
forums, that the decision was made to pursue an NHA designation.  Was a forum held in your area or community and did you know about it?


The Management Plan

Public involvement is also supposed to be important in the crafting of the management plan.  In the legislation, usually three years are allowed for developing the plan after the Bill is passed. Yet, the National Park Service’s document “Development of a National Heritage Area Evaluation Strategy:  Report on Phase 1” (Mar. 2008) states that a:

 “management plan (…may be carried out before or after national designation)”

If legislation passes, public forums are necessary at least twice a year to discuss the plan and gather public input.  But the final decision on aspects of the plan does not rest with the public. It rests with the managing entity and the U.S. Department of the Interior. 


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