Dennen named executive director of Kentucky Heritage Council

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From interim to permanent in eight months

By Scotty McDaniel

It’s permanent. After serving as interim executive director of the Kentucky Heritage Council for the last eight months, Shelbyville resident Mark Dennen officially was appointed to the post by Gov. Steve Beshear on Friday.

“Mark brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Heritage Council and is well respected for his work,” Marcheta Sparrow, secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet said in a release. “Preservation in Kentucky will be in good hands with Mark as executive director.”

Dennen said he is excited for the official appointment and having been doing the job as the interim executive director since August of last year he is already comfortable in the role.

Though the tasks of the council are many, the goal of its work is clear.

“We do archaeological and architectural work as far as trying to protect, identify and preserve history,” Dennen said.

To do that the council has a number of programs encouraging historic preservation. Some reward preservation through tax credit.

“We also have programs in preservation skills training, where we offer training methods of construction that are important for historic buildings,” he said. “Our goal there is to try and increase the staple of contractors who have skills in working on historic buildings.”

One of the big programs the council oversees is the Kentucky Main Street Program, with which Shelbyville has been involved for many years. In its 30th year, Kentucky has the oldest Main Street Program of any state, and with 85 cities participating in the program, it is also one of the largest.

Dennen has worked for the council since 2000 as an architect. He will continue to serve as the state’s historic preservation officer.

There’s plenty to do from his office in Frankfort, but even when he comes home to Shelbyville, he said he never really leaves work – because his home is his work.

A Shelby County resident for the last 25 years, he currently lives in a historic home on Eminence Pike.

“So I’m kind of living the mission,” he said.