A new executive director has taken the helm at ARCH, Fort Wayne’s nonprofit historic architecture preservation group.
Jill McDevitt, 28, who had been interim executive director, has been permanently named to the post.
She succeeds Michael Galbraith, 51, who was tapped in July to lead the Road to One Million initiative of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.
McDevitt is a former ARCH intern who has worked for the organization for the past three years as a historic preservation specialist.
In that position, the graduate of Ball State University, who has a master’s degree in historic preservation, wrote nominations for sites to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places and helped applicants apply for historic preservation-related tax credits.
Through field work, she also worked on updating the Allen County Historic Sites and Structures Survey and helped compile ARCH’s annual Endangered List.
In an interview Tuesday, McDevitt said she plans to continue “on the path of growth Mike has taken us down in the past few years.”
That means continuing to finish renovations and acquisitions of targeted properties, expand professional services to property owners and “incorporate more educational opportunities so we can continue to educate the community about preservation and its importance,” she said.
McDevitt said the organization “would like to continue to be involved in discussions about downtown and reusing different buildings instead of demolishing them.”
She recently spoke on behalf of ARCH at a public meeting on the relocation of the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission to an early 20th-century automobile showroom, stating a case for not tearing down the building at Lafayette Street and East Washington Boulevard.
McDevitt, who also has spoken before Fort Wayne's Historic Preservation Commission, said she is looking forward to making a case for considering more mid-20th-century modern buildings as historic.
She grew up in Kendallville and graduated with a bachelor of arts in history from Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer.
“I think we’ve made progress in (promoting historic preservation) in the past few years, but it is, historic preservation is, still a relatively new field,” she said.
“I think we at ARCH need to continue to educate what preservation is and what it can mean for, and do for, the community.”