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City devotes month to preserving its history

In order to kick off May as “National Preservation Month” in Demopolis, the city welcomed key board members and staff of non-profit historic preservation groups from across the region Tuesday morning.

The Demopolis Historic Preservation Commission, the Marengo County Historical Society and the Friends of Gaineswood sponsored the “Better Preservation Boards Workshop,” which yielded visitors from Marengo, Sumter, Perry, Choctaw, Tuscaloosa and Jefferson counties.

“We had a great turnout,” Marengo County Historical Society operations manager Kirk Brooker said. “We are looking at more than five counties represented here, plus the Montgomery AHC (Alabama Historical Commission).”

The featured guest speaker for the afternoon was Tom Thompson, managing consultant for non-profit organizations throughout Birmingham. His talks focused on recruiting and engaging board members, building successful partnerships, educating the community, creating a successful fundraising environment, recruiting and managing volunteers and getting priorities in line to maximize the organization’s impact.

“The things that stood out most were his ideas on improving fundraising and recruiting board members that will publicize the organization,” Brooker said. “He also talked about the role of the board and how to set it up for success.”

On Monday, Demopolis Mayor Cecil P. Williamson signed the proclamation that states “historic preservation is an effective too for managing growth, revitalizing neighborhoods, fostering local pride and maintaining community character while enhancing livability.”

The occasion used to be recognized nationally as one week in May, but Demopolis has recently joined the reigns of other cities that celebrate preserving their past for the entire month.

“This is a city of history and it’s important for us to preserve it,” Williamson said, “This will ensure that we work toward maintaining our history.”

According to Brooker, area students should be on the look out for information on coloring contests, poster contests and writing competitions to commemorate “National Preservation Month.”