Cultural Resources Protection
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Cultural Resources Protection a Pro-active Approach George R. Frantz, AICP Presented to American Planning Association Chicago, IL, November 23, 2010. Image Source: The Issue.

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Cultural Resources ProtectionaPro-active Approach George R. Frantz, AICPPresented to American Planning AssociationChicago, IL, November 23, 2010

Image Source:

The issue
The Issue

Native American historical and cultural sites have fared poorly at the hand of the design professions.

“Shovel and shut-up” approach unfortunately still exists in too many places.

The issue1
The Issue

  • Archaeological sites unknown quantity;

  • Federal & state laws limited effectiveness;

  • Generally only apply where public $$$ involved;

  • New York: State Environmental Quality Review – public & private projects.

    Cartoon: Dolores Hayden, Grand Domestic Revolution. 1980

The issue2
The Issue

Tangible Resources vs.

Intangible Resources

Project genesis
Project Genesis

  • Desire to locate and protect the site of Coreorgonel, an Iroquoian town of +/- 2,000 destroyed by American forces in Revolutionary War.

    Image Source:


Project genesis1
Project Genesis

  • Desire to avoid the conflict that many times erupts when developers’ plans are pitted against protection of cultural resources.

    Image Source:


The challenge
The Challenge

  • Accommodating growth and development.


  • Protecting an important cultural resource and sensitive Native American site, and doing so in a unique, cost effective and non-adversarial manner.

    Image Source: Microsoft Bing

Project objectives
Project Objectives

  • Short-circuit potential controversy using pre-emptive cultural resources survey to identify areas of archaeological importance in the valley.

  • Develop a model for collaboration between academic institutions, local governments and landowners to identify & protect cultural resources.

Project objectives1
Project Objectives

  • Permit the design and approval of two future residential developments in the area while protecting critical historic and cultural resources.

  • Create a constituency within the community for the protection of cultural resources.


  • Phase I-a literature search & report;

  • Phase I-b shovel test pits on 125 acres;


  • Parkland dedications ID’ed in collaboration with developers;

  • Development phasing determined

  • Phase II excavations on 5 features identified in Phase I-b.


  • A catalyst for a multi-year research, design and public education initiative.

  • A place redefined: the Inlet Valley from highway corridor to an area rich in history.

We re not dead yet
“We’re Not Dead Yet”

  • A rediscovery of a rich native American heritage in the occupation of the Inlet valley by the Tutelo/Saponi peoples.

  • A new public park that includes a space set aside for contemplation and commemoration of Native American heritage.


  • Department of City & Regional Planning, Department of Landscape Architecture, Cornell University.

  • Town of Ithaca Planning Department.

  • Developers : Eddydale Homes & E. Tomlinson, III

  • Cayuga Nation of Indians

  • Tutelo and Saponi nations

Lessons learned
Lessons Learned

  • Communities can and should pro-actively embark on cultural resources surveys wherever the historic record shows the potential presence of archaeological site.

Lessons learned1
Lessons Learned

  • Planners can and should work with landowners and the community to determine presence of archaeological sites before design begins.


Lessons learned2
Lessons Learned

  • The Native American community can and should be brought to the table early on as an active partner and valuable informant.

Lessons learned3
Lessons Learned

  • Colleges and universities have an important role:

    • critical expertise in archaeology;

    • resources to conduct excavations.

Lessons learned4
Lessons Learned

  • A proactive, cooperative approach to identifying cultural resources is both practical and cost effective.

  • Controversy over historic and cultural resources can be short-circuited.

  • The development review and approval process does not have to be delayed.

Lessons learned5
Lessons Learned

  • The authority municipalities possess in many states to require park and open space dedications of developers can be a tool for protecting cultural resources.

Present future
Present & Future

  • A new constituency for the protection of the Coreorgonel townsite is established.

Present future1
Present & Future

  • Town of Ithaca in September 1999 named one of two park sites acquired as a result of the IVAS “Tutelo Park.”

  • Dedicated the park to preserving the heritage of the native American presence in the Inlet Valley.

Present future2
Present & Future

  • In September 2006 the commemoration was expanded into the “Homecoming Festival of Native American Culture,” a one-day event featuring music, dance, food, presentations and exhibits at Tutelo Park.

Ivas part ii

March 2010

  • Local micro-brewery acquires site to build new brewery/restaurant/beer garden;

  • Presents sketch plan to Town of Ithaca Planning Board;

  • Proposed development outside IVAS test area.

Ivas part ii1

Under NY State Environmental Quality Review Act, Town of Ithaca must consider potential impacts on historic and cultural resources prior to approving project.

Ivas part ii2

  • Developer hires archaeologist to complete Phase I-a, Phase I-b studies;

  • Development site is “clean;”

  • Report incorporated in Town’s environmental review

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George R. Frantz, AICP

Department of City & Regional Planning

Cornell University, Ithaca, NY