The National Park Service is accepting public comment on possible changes or improvements to the Clinton Birthplace National Historic Site in Hope.
The public comment period opened last week and runs through June 30. The park service hopes to identify projects that can document the historic character of the neighborhood as experienced by former president Bill Clinton.
The home at 117 South Hervey St. in Hope is where Clinton spent the first four years of his life, after his father, William Jefferson Blythe, Jr. died in a tragic automobile accident just three months before the then future president’s August 1946 birth.
He lived in the house with his mother, the late Virginia Clinton Kelley, and his maternal grandparents. He continued to visit his grandparents there until his grandfather's death in 1956.
The park service says the neighborhood has changed over the past several decades, moving from residential to more commercial development.
Although the home first opened to the public in 1997, it was only officially designated as a National Historic Site in 2011.
The site includes about one acre of land, and is composed of three buildings and a memorial garden located a few blocks west of downtown Hope.
The purpose of the NPS report and assessment is to identify key landscape resources at the site and provide schematic recommendations for protecting it while accommodating visitor use.
Treatment recommendations would focus on specific components of the landscape to assist the NPS in managing the historic property, provide support for neighboring landowners interested in preservation, and establish a foundation of information that will assist in the development of an interpretive program at the site.
The project is currently in the “scoping” phase of the project. Scoping is the first step in the planning process and consists of an information gathering process. Public comments are important in defining the issues and concerns to be addressed in the CLR/EA.
Documentation produced by the CLR will provide necessary guidance for park managers to manage the cultural landscape and perhaps work with local officials and adjacent property owners to maintain and/or restore elements of the historic landscape.
The document will define the landscape boundary, identify significant viewsheds; document contributing features that historically defined the Clinton Home and neighborhood streetscape; and identify a series of phased implement projects that may be needed to improve condition, enhance landscape integrity, and provide compatible visitor amenities within the park.
The treatment recommendations should reference the entire project area, but might also focus on specific component landscapes to assist the NPS with managing the historic property, provide support for neighboring landowners interested in preservation, and establish a foundation of information that will permit the development of an interpretive program.
Click here to share your thoughts, ideas, and concerns about the site. The public also will have an opportunity to comment on the CLR/EA when it is released.
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