Friday, October 17, 2008

Charleston, SC mayor inspires CPA Fall Forum

On October 10, over 300 guests crowded the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza's Hall of Mirrors for the Cincinnati Preservation Association's (CPA) thirteenth annual Fall Forum.

Featured speaker Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. of Charleston, SC presented "Preserving and Restoring the American City — Every Citizen's Responsibility", a motivational speech about his city's efforts to preserve its historic districts, thereby revitalizing its downtown.

Riley also provided insight into the lessons that Cincinnati could learn from Charleston.

"Mayor Riley’s talk was refreshing," says CPA executive director Bobbie McTurner. "I left the luncheon inspired, recharged and optimistic. And from the calls that we have been receiving, I was not the only person touched by Mayor Riley’s genuine respect for the historic built environment of Charleston and Cincinnati."

McTurner adds that if Charleston can produce heritage tourism as a byproduct of its preservation efforts, so can Cincinnati.

"Hearing the success story of Charleston only reiterates the necessity of our fight to preserve Cincinnati’s regional identity," she says.

Margo Warminski, preservation director for the CPA, also found value in Riley's message.

"The City needs to learn from Charleston's example and insist on high standards for all renovation and new development," she says. "If it doesn't add to our incredible urban environment, it shouldn't be built. Also, the Mayor's experience demonstrates that even seriously dilapidated buildings can be saved and reused if there is the will to do so."

Currently serving an unprecedented ninth term, Riley is widely considered one of the most visionary and highly effective governmental leaders in America.

Because of his experience, Riley is a frequent speaker on issues of urban design and livability.

Photo caption (L-R): CPA trustee board president Lynn Jacobs, CPA trustee and Fall Forum co-chair Shakila T. Ahmad, Charleston mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., CPA executive director Bobbie McTurner, CPA trustee and Fall Forum co-chair Margaret Valentine, CPA trustee and Fall Forum co-chair Paul Muller. Photo courtesy of the CPA.