Preservation and Conservation Association
PACA was founded in 1981 to help preserve the historic environment of Champaign County. During the past twenty years, the group has worked to educate the public and elected officials about the importance of the historic buildings and landscapes of Urbana, Champaign, and the county as a whole.
PACA was founded during a period of crisis in which historic buildings in downtown Champaign became endangered when three large-scale developments were proposed. Although two of the projects proceeded at the expense of many historic buildings, PACA quickly learned the value of being prepared and in educating the public about the importance of preserving historic resources. To those ends, PACA has actively sought to be proactive in the community. In the 1980’s PACA conducted intensive building-by-building surveys of three areas of the community. This extensive database is continuing to be enlarged, but the focus has shifted to the preparation of National Register nominations and city landmark nominations for the newly created Urbana Historic Preservation Commission. PACA was an active lobbyist for the passage of the historic preservation ordinance in Urbana.
In addition to the normal volunteer efforts related to membership, PACA also sponsors a Heritage Award program that recognizes local preservation and rehabilitation activity. Perhaps one of the most impressive activity of PACA is the operation of the Salvage Warehouse. From the beginning of the association, architecture salvage has been an integral part of the organization. With permission of owners, developers, or demolition contractors, PACA volunteers remove reusable parts from buildings which are then sold in a salvage warehouse. Proceeds from the warehouse are used to future PACA activities. To date the PACA Salvage Warehouse grosses an impressive $45,000 per year.