The Liberty Historical Society recently discussed a plan to designate the Connecticut Western Reserve as a National Heritage Area.
Melinda Huntley, director with Lake Erie Coalition Ohio Travel, spoke to the society about U.S. Rep. Timothy J. Ryan, D-Niles, securing funding from Congress for the feasibility study under way, coordinated by the National Park Service.
Several meetings have taken place since last fall with town hall gatherings being held to allow citizens of the Western Reserve to provide their comments and suggestions. Huntley said there are 12 meetings scheduled throughout the region from Tuesday to Feb. 25.
Liberty Community News / Bob Coupland
The Liberty Historical Society held a meeting recently to discuss including the Connecticut Western Reserve as a National Heritage Area. Members provided ideas of what they local area has to offer. Seated are, from left, Judy McGuire, society vice president; Carol Faustino, president; and Jean Margala, treasurer. In the back row are Melinda Huntley, director with Lake Erie Coalition Ohio Travel, and Patrick Ungaro, Liberty administrator.
A local meeting will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Feb. 17 at Kent State University Trumbull Campus classroom / administration building Lecture Hall A in Champion. Presentations by the National Park Service will be made at 4:15 pm and at 6:15 p.m.
The Western Reserve Heritage Area includes Trumbull, Mahoning, Ashtabula and neighboring counties.
The feasibility study includes an evaluation of the region's unique historical natural, recreational and cultural resources to determine their national significance, as well as an examination of local support and ability to coordinate a national heritage area should designation be approved by Congress.
Historical Society President Carol Faustino said members have been interested in the project and wanted to get more details to how Liberty can provide input. Faustino said she decided this would be an ideal program for the new year.
"What makes the Western Reserve different is we are a huge region and one of the microcosms of the United States,'' Huntley said.
Each community can see what historical and cultural features in their region are significant and what people want to achieve with a national heritage area, she said.
"We want to identify the interests and compelling stories and get feedback,'' she said.
There are 49 National Heritage Areas in the United States, Huntley said.
The schedule of events include to have the final feasibility study document and draft be prepared by October and submitted to Congress in 2011. Prior to submission, the final report will be presented at a series of public meetings and will be made available online for comments.