New Historic Trust leader sees urban sites as a priority Barbara Haney Irvine of Cinnaminson also aims to collaborate with the preservation community.

Posted: October 05, 2004

The new executive director of the New Jersey Historic Trust said yesterday that she hoped to focus more on the preservation of urban historic buildings across the state.

Barbara Haney Irvine said after the announcement of her appointment that she wanted "to build on the strong foundation that the trust has built over the years and expand the program to impact" the urban sites.

Irvine, 60, of Cinnaminson, was unanimously approved by the trust's board, the state Department of Community Affairs announced yesterday.

The nonprofit trust promotes state historic preservation through grants for capital improvements and studies. It has an annual operating budget of $520,000 and receives $6 million annually from the Garden State Preservation Trust Fund for its projects.

"We will also focus on working collaboratively with the preservation community of New Jersey for greater impact on preservation across the state," Irvine said.

She had served on the 15-member board of trustees since 2002, most recently as vice chair. She said her service on the board had given her "a unique perspective on the work of the trust and the community it serves."

Irvine will oversee the trust's staff on preservation grant and loan programs and will implement preservation initiatives set by the board.

She was the senior program associate for the Heritage Philadelphia Program from 2002 until this year and a program associate from 2001 to 2002. The program supports historic preservation and tourism in the Philadelphia area.

As senior program associate, Irvine managed a $4.3 million grant program funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts, provided technical assistance for 300 regional historic sites, and planned and coordinated building programs for grant recipients.

Before joining Heritage Philadelphia, she founded the Alice Paul Centennial Foundation and spearheaded a national campaign to preserve Paulsdale, suffrage leader Alice Paul's birthplace and home in Mount Laurel.

In 2000, Congress appointed Irvine to the Women's Progress Commission, which was responsible for assessing women's historic sites across the country.

Susan Bass Levin, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs and ex-officio member of the Historic Trust's board, said the state "is fortunate to have a leader with Barbara's experience in historic preservation, grant management, and collaboration with many state and national organizations."

"I look forward to working with her to preserve New Jersey's past so we can build a better future for all residents," Levin said.

The Historic Trust became an affiliate of the Department of Community Affairs in November 2002.

Thomas Brown, chairman of the trust, said Irvine "brings a wealth of experience in working within the New Jersey preservation community and beyond, as well as direct experience with the New Jersey Historic Trust."

"Her particular experience and skills are just what we need to assist the trust to move forward at this time," he said.

Contact staff writer Edward Colimore at 856-779-3833 or ecolimore@phillynews.com.

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