Historic Preservation - Governor begins consolidation of IHPA into IDNR

In an executive order, Gov. Bruce Rauner took steps this week to trigger the elimination of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA). The Agency operates more than 50 historic and cultural-heritage sites throughout Illinois. Sites controlled by IHPA include the Hotel Florence, an architectural keystone of the Pullman National Monument in Chicago; Lincoln’s Tomb and Lincoln’s New Salem in Central Illinois; and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cahokia Mounds, east of St. Louis. IHPA was separated out from its former parent, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (then called the Department of Conservation) in 1985.

Under the terms of Rauner’s Executive Order, most of IHPA will be returned to what is now the Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The consolidation of the two agencies is expected to generate significant administrative savings. A key entity within IHPA, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, will be granted its own Board of Trustees and autonomy directly under the Office of the Governor.

The consolidation of most of the IHPA and granting of autonomy to the Lincoln Presidential Library will take effect 60 days after issuance of the Executive Order, unless the implementation of the Order is blocked by joint resolution of the Illinois General Assembly. The Executive Order was released on Friday, March 31, setting the stage for this administrative change to be implemented at the end of May, 2017.

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