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As Napa residents, we are incredibly proud of three local projects that received Preservation Design Awards for their restoration: the Napa County Courthouse, the Ackerman Heritage House, and the Judge Johnson and Sarah Horrell House and the Hayman Cottage (“Napa snares lion’s share of statewide restoration awards,” Aug. 15).

The 2014 earthquake and years of neglect at the historic homes had robbed much of their original splendor. Their restoration is a testament to Napa’s resilience, and the dedication of its residents to the stewardship of our historic resources.

While the structures themselves are certainly beautiful, these awards don’t simply recognize pretty buildings. They reward excellence, holding these and 18 other award- winning projects from across California up as aspirational models of work done right. Every preservation project should aim for this level of work.

Committing to the kind of restoration work undertaken on these projects is not easy. It can be easier and cheaper to cut corners, change out unique historic features for bland replacements, or to simply demolish the old and start anew.

But we all benefit from the careful restoration of historic properties, which provide tangible connections to Napa’s past and serve as sources of civic pride.

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They are something we can all point to and enjoy as part of our shared heritage.

Each year, the California Preservation Foundation (CPF) convenes a jury of leading professionals from the fields of architecture, design, construction, and more to review scores of nominations and select the best preservation projects from across the state. From meticulous home restorations, to reports that will guide the infill and development of entire neighborhoods, this year’s winners provide innovative and exemplary responses to many of the problems facing not only preservation, but the world at large, while adhering to the highest professional standards.

We are proud that so many of the 2019 winners are right here in Napa, an impressive showing for a single city in a statewide competition. We hope that Napa’s residents and decision makers will continue to commit to preservation, by investing in historic structures. That is why the California Preservation Foundation and the American Institute of Architects, California Council are working with Senate Pro tem Toni Atkins to pass Senate Bill 451 (Atkins), the State Historic Tax Credit.

This important legislation will help property owners restore historic buildings to be safe, community assets used and enjoyed by future generations of Californians.

We invite all Napa residents to join us in congratulating the teams responsible for these three projects. You can read more about the awards and CPF’s work at californiapreservation.org.

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Cindy Heitzman is the Executive Director of the California Preservation Foundation. Bill Schaeffer is the Operations Manager for Cello & Maudru Construction, and a Co-Chair of the 2019 Preservation Design Awards Jury. Neither Heitzman nor Schaeffer played a decision making role on the Awards Jury. All 21 winning projects can be viewed at californiapreservation.org.

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