RD526 - Capitol Square Preservation Council Report – December 1, 2016

Executive Summary:
Capitol Square Preservation Council is a legislative agency established by an act of the General Assembly in 1999. The Capitol Square Preservation Council consists of thirteen individuals with expertise relevant to the management, stewardship, and interpretation of the Capitol and the remarkable assemblage of historic and cultural resources within the legally defined boundaries of Capitol Square. These resources include more than a dozen distinguished historic buildings: several that are listed on the State and National Registers; three that are also designated as National Historic Landmarks, the nation’s highest level of recognition, which has been granted to the Capitol, Old City Hall and the Executive Mansion. The Capitol itself is formally enshrined on the tentative list of World Heritage Sites for its universal significance. The resources of Capitol Square also include a nationally important designed cultural landscape, historically significant in its own right, and distinguished smaller gardens designed by Charles Gillette, archaeological remains from prehistory scatter to the 19th century in ground remains, and a collection of varied artistic sculptural objects. All of these public resources lie within the area delineated by Bank, Broad, Ninth and Governor’s streets. The boundaries, and thus the scope of the Council’s oversight, also encompasses state-owned buildings on the opposite sides of these streets that are 50 years or older. Council members include the Clerks of the House and Senate and the Secretary of Administration, who each serve ex officio, and individuals appointed by the Speaker of the House, Senate Rules Committee and the Governor with professional or avocational experience in art, architecture, architectural history, landscape architecture, history, public history and historic preservation.

The Council oversees the architectural, historical, archaeological and landscape features of Capitol Square by recommending actions for the enhancement of their historical and architectural integrity and strategies that will enhance interpretive and educational opportunities. The Council reviews all plans or proposals for alterations, improvements, additions, renovations or other disposition that is structural or architectural in nature. Furthermore, no implementation of such plans or proposals shall take place prior to review by the Council.

Following the retirement of its founding executive director in 2011, the Capitol Square Preservation Council was on a two-year operational hiatus during which time organizational planning and revisionist was undertaken by the Council members. On December 1, 2013 a new executive director came on board to re-establish and enhance the Council’s core area of responsibility in environmental review and stewardship during a period of great change and development for the Square and its resources, and to enhance public programming and partnerships. From December 1, 2013 to October 1, 2016, Kathleen S. Kilpatrick, a noted state and national expert in historic preservation, cultural resource policy, planning and management, and land and landmark conservation, served as Executive Director of the Council. On September 30, 2016, Capitol Square Preservation Council met to discuss, and entered into an agreement on a new operating framework that shows a formal partnership with the Virginia Capitol Foundation. The Council has hired a Chief Administrative Officer, and going forward, CSPC and VCF will share office space and work together on upcoming events and projects.

This report covers the significant highlights of an active period of rebuilding programs, of significant findings and recommendations that bear on the future and public use and enjoyment of the resources, and points to new and continuing opportunities and challenges.