RULE §16.3 Addition of Historic Sites to the Texas Historical Commission Historic Sites Program

Published: 2015

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(a) Criteria. Consideration for accepting a historic
property for development as a Commission historic site will be based
on the following criteria:
  (1) The property must have recognized statewide or
national significance based on the standards of the National Register
of Historic Places.
  (2) The property should be able to provide interpretation
of a significant theme or event of Texas history that is not fully
represented by the Commission's existing historic sites or other historic
sites accessible to the public. The Commission will strive to maintain
a geographic, cultural and thematic balance in its program.
  (3) The property should have exceptional integrity
of location (including surrounding environment), design, material,
setting, feeling, and association.
  (4) The property should have appropriate collections
(objects, manuscript material, artifacts) associated with the historic
site or necessary artifacts related to the site's history and period
of significance should be identified and available.
  (5) The property must be appropriate for use as an
interpretive museum or historic site, have high potential to attract
and accommodate diverse and new audiences, and be accessible to travelers
as well as to the local community.
  (6) The property must be available without restrictions
that would limit the Commission's options for preservation and interpretation
as a historic site (for example, a life estate retained by the grantor,
restrictions against future sale or conveyance, or limits on alterations
deemed appropriate by the Commission). The Commission encourages the
use of easements or other restrictions to ensure the preservation
of historic sites.
  (7) Financial resources must be available or assured,
including an endowment fund where appropriate, or sources of funding
must be identified in a comprehensive funding plan to ensure the restoration,
interpretation, development, long term operation and preservation
of the site.
  (8) The property must have the potential for strong
supporting partnerships including community support.
(b) Evaluation Process. To evaluate the site against
these criteria, the Commission will follow a two-step process as follows.

  (1) A staff committee will be appointed to conduct
a preliminary review of the property with reference to criteria noted
in subsection (a) of this section. The committee will make a recommendation
to the Commission whether to proceed with the second step evaluation.

  (2) Staff will obtain and use the following information:

    (A) A description of the property, including land,
structures and other features.
    (B) A preliminary inventory of collections and equipment.

    (C) A statement of significance or reference to its
designation on the National Register of Historic Places/National Historic
Landmark and an evaluation of the site's integrity.
    (D) A statement from the current owner indicating a
willingness to transfer the real and relevant personal property and
the terms and conditions for such a transfer.
    (E) Needed and available funding for development costs
and continuing operational costs.
    (F) Letters of support from interested parties, including
an indication of willingness to create an appropriate support group.

    (G) A statement identifying how the property would
support the educational mission of the Historic Sites Program to serve
a broad and diverse audience.
    (H) A preliminary estimate of the visitation and costs
for development and operation of the site.
  (3) Upon positive action by the Commission on the recommendation
noted in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the staff will prepare
or have prepared a management plan for the site including:
    (A) Evaluation of the site, including buildings, support
facilities, infrastructure (including roads, trails, utility service/water
and sewer systems), landscape features, and collections.
    (B) Merits of the proposed site compared to other sites
in Texas that embody the same or similar historical or physical characteristics.

    (C) Preservation and facility development needs.
    (D) Costs and timeline for making the property available
to the public.
    (E) Any limitation on site development, such as environmental
regulations and local restrictions (zoning, land use).
    (F) Needed staffing and consultant services for development
of the site.
    (G) Needed staffing and services for operation of the
site, including ongoing costs of preservation operation, and marketing.

    (H) Business plan for the site identifying projected
audience/annual visitation, sources of funds for all aspects of the
program including available community support, potential to generate
revenue, and endowment.
  (4) This plan will be reviewed by a panel of experts
including an independent Texas historian, museum professional, and
expert in heritage tourism and their recommendation will be taken
into consideration by the Commission to determine whether the property
should be accepted.
  (5) The decision to accept a site is within the sole
discretion of the Commission, including determining whether acceptance
of a property that meets all technical criteria is in the best interest
of the State.
(c) A property that is adjacent to an existing THC
State Historic Site that will enhance the preservation, protection
or interpretation of the existing site, may be acquired by purchase
or donation by action of the Commission on recommendation of the Executive
Director, without the evaluation process described in subsection (b)
of this section.
(d) A right of way or easement required to allow for
installation or connection of necessary utilities at a THC State Historic
Site between regular meetings of the Commission, may be approved by
the Executive Director with the approval of the Chairman. This action
will be ratified at the next meeting of the Commission.

Source Note: The provisions of this §16.3 adopted to be effective August 25, 2008, 33 TexReg 6810; amended to be effective August 31, 2010, 35 TexReg 7727; amended to be effective December 31, 2013, 38 TexReg 9499