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Community Initiative Awards

The Community Initiative Award from the State Historic Preservation Office (PA SHPO) recognizes organizations, municipalities, agencies, individuals, and others whose work embodies the theme of Pennsylvania’s statewide historic preservation plan, #PreservationHappensHere.

Started in 2016 for the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act, the Community Initiative Award (CIA) is now an annual program and is one of the ways in which PA SHPO implements the current statewide historic preservation plan. 


What is #PreservAtionHappensHere?

#PreservAtionHappensHere is the idea that great preservation activities are happening every day across Pennsylvania. These activities may not necessarily be thought of as typical historic preservation; nevertheless, they deserve to be recognized, shared, and celebrated.


How to Enter

There is no formal application or nomination procedure to be considered for a PA SHPO Community Initiative Award – simply do one of the following at any time throughout the year:

To submit a Success Story through PA-SHARE:

    • A PA-SHARE account is not required to submit a story.  
    • Sign in to PA-SHARE with your account or as a Guest User.
    • Go the the Submit page and open the Success Story wizard.
    • Fill in the short form and provide at least one photograph.
    • Click "Submit to SHPO".
    • Step-by-step instructions are available: Submitting a Success Story in PA-SHARE.
Please contact the PA-SHARE Help Desk for assistance.

Selection Process

Candidates are identified in a few different ways over the course of the calendar year:

    • monitoring social media coverage and traditional press reporting,
    • reporting on active projects that utilize federal or state programs,
    • tracking use of the #PreservationHappensHere hashtag and,
    • reviewing Preservation Success Stories submitted through PA-SHARE.

Each January, PA SHPO reviews all of the candidates from the previous year and winners are typically notified in early spring. Please note that awards may not be awarded each year.  

2018 CIA Award WIAC.JPG 

The Walk In Art Center (WIAC) was one of the 2018 Community Initiative Award winners.

Please note that the Community Initiative Award does not require that a property is opened to the public for visitation, does not require the owner to comply with any state or federal regulations, and does not automatically grant the property any historic status. 



Learn more about the 2023 awardees in this post.


Learn more about the 2022 awardees in this post.


Learn more about the 2021 awardees in this post.


  • Old Erie on Foot (Erie, Erie County)
  • Society to Preserve the Millvale Murals of Maxo Vanka (Millvale, Allegheny County)
  • Mainstreet Waynesboro, Inc. (Waynesboro, Franklin County)

Learn more about the 2020 awardees in this post.


  • Mahoning Drive-In Theatre (Mahoning, Carbon County)
  • Fighter's Heaven (Orwigsburg, Schuylkill County)
  • Lazaretto (Tinicum, Delaware County)
  • McKees Rocks Community Development Corporation/Roxian Theater (McKees Rocks, Allegheny County)

Learn more about the 2019 awardees in this post.


Learn more about the 2018 awardees in this post.


  • Bradford Revitalization Team (Bradford, McKean County)
  • East Liberty Development Inc. (Pittsburgh, Allegheny County)
  • Hidden City Philadelphia (Philadelphia, Philadelphia County)

Learn more about the 2016 awardees in this post.

For More Information

Read more about the Community Initiative Award on the blog.

If you would like additional information about the Community Initiative Award or past winners, please contact PA SHPO's Education & Special Initiatives Coordinator, Shelby Splain, at or (717) 787-0772.