Apr-29-09 Documentary About Historic Preservation in New Jersey to Air Locally
Documentary About Historic Preservation in New Jersey to Air Locally
TRENTON - A documentary that explores New Jersey's historic places and the struggle to save them from ruin will air locally Saturday, May 2 on NJN Public Television. The New Jersey Historic Trust, a Department of Community Affairs (DCA) affiliate, was a key advisor and underwriter for Our Vanishing Past.
"We are excited people around New Jersey will get an opportunity to see this thought-provoking documentary about the importance of preserving historic places that tell America's unique story," said DCA Commissioner Joseph Doria. "The film may highlight New Jersey, but its central themes can be applied to preservation efforts nationwide."
NJN is one of 30 public television stations across the nation that are set to broadcast Our Vanishing Past within the next four years. Narrated by NBC Nightly News weekend anchor Lestor Holt, the documentary sheds light on how communities change when historic landmarks and districts are abandoned or destroyed. The one-hour documentary features more than 30 historic places across New Jersey and showcases success stories in saving such sites as the Essex County Courthouse in Newark and Doo Wop motels in Wildwood. The film, which was written and produced by NJN's Lynn Kosek Walker, also addresses missed preservation opportunities and the issue of teardowns, a trend that involves demolishing older homes and replacing them with large, expensive houses. According to the documentary, New Jersey ranks second in the nation in the number of neighborhoods facing teardowns, a phenomenon that reduces the supply of affordable starter homes available for new residents and drives up costs for existing residents on fixed incomes.
"Preservation projects are great for the economy because they create jobs for skilled craftsmen like carpenters," said Dorothy Guzzo, executive director of the New Jersey Historic Trust. "Historic sites also drive heritage tourism, which studies have shown tends to draw visitors who stay longer and spend more money."
The New Jersey Historic Trust, which contributed approximately $60,000 to the documentary's production, was one of five groups to help fund the effort. Guzzo and other Historic Trust staff also served as key project advisors.
NJN is scheduled to broadcast Our Vanishing Past on Saturday, May 2 at 3 p.m. For more information on the documentary, log on to http://www.state.nj.us/dca/njht/hot_topics.html#5 and click on the link to NJN. Regionally, WNET in New York and WHYY in Philadelphia plan to air the documentary, but haven't set a date.
Established in 1967, the New Jersey Historic Trust's mission is to advance historic preservation in the state for the benefit of future generations through education, stewardship and financial investment programs. For more information regarding the New Jersey Historic Trust, please call 609-984-0473, or log on to http://www.njht.org/.