The Nevis Historical and Conservation Society (NHCS), working at the request of the Minister of Tourism Mark Brantley, is exploring the possibility of nominating the historic section of Charlestown, Nevis, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A nomination would be the key part of recommendations being developed by the NHCS on how to protect Charlestown’s architectural history and heritage as part of a new economic development strategy to revitalize the downtown area.
The town has experienced a number of changes in recent years, including the replacement of some buildings and the alteration of others, but many of Charlestown’s buildings are authentic and the ancient street pattern gives the town its unique form and character.
As part of the nomination process, it would be necessary to designate an “historic district” in the capital city with a management plan to protect the designated area and buildings located in that area. Guidelines would need to be written and a review board to consider all proposed changes in the historic district would need to be part of the process.
The NHCS is also exploring other strategies for enhancing Charlestown’s potential for heritage tourism, such as the “Main Street” programs adopted by successful small towns and cities in the U.S. and UK. Such an approach would build on the unique character of the town, and include not only beautification, but economic restructuring activities and aggressive promotion.
The UNESCO World Heritage List is designed to preserve and protect the cultural and natural heritage of sites throughout the world. There are currently 981 sites on the list including several in the Caribbean:
Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park in St. Kitts, Historic Area of Willemstad in Curacao, Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison in Barbados; Morne Trois Pitons National Park in Dominica; Pitons Management Area in St. Lucia; LaFortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico; plus nine in Cuba and one in the Dominican Republic.
Volunteers with interest and expertise in this area should contact Evelyn Henville, NHCS Executive Director, at 469-5786 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A meeting is being planned for September 2013 to discuss this matter with the general public. Date, time and location will be announced soon.