HSF Appoints Full-Time Historic Properties Coordinator

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Ryan Arvay joined Historic Savannah Foundation in a full-time role as Historic Properties Coordinator. His duties will include managing the organization’s Revolving Fund and Easement Program.

HSF's Revolving Fund was launched in 1960 and quickly rose to national prominence, inspiring other preservation-focused nonprofits to create similar initiatives. By investing in local real estate and acquiring blighted and endangered historic properties, HSF emboldened other private interests to also invest in saving buildings and the collective impact grew exponentially. To date, HSF has saved more than 370 properties.

The Easement Program offers property owners an additional layer of protection above and beyond that prescribed by Savannah’s Historic District Board of Review. HSF holds, monitors and enforces easements, thus further protecting historic properties for future generations. Historic properties throughout Savannah and Chatham County are eligible.

Arvay, a California native who grew up in Cupertino, is an architecture and history enthusiast. After moving to a historic Florida town in 2006, he became involved in the local preservation scene and eventually was named program manager of two nationally accredited Main Street programs. Arvay also worked as the living history coordinator for the University of West Florida Historic Trust, and served as the vice president of the Santa Rosa County Historical Society.

Arvay has a bachelor’s degree in Theatre and Media Arts from Brigham Young University and a master’s in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He enjoys advocacy work and intends to develop several personal projects that combine his love of film-making and old buildings to further the cause of historic preservation. Arvay is married and has four children.

After growing up in the sprawling suburbs of the West Coast Bay Area, Arvay said his move south provided a revelation about the importance of historic structures. Of all the cities he has spent time in, he said he has never felt a greater sense of belonging than in Savannah.

"We at HSF often say, with no apologies or exaggeration, the Revolving Fund is what saved Savannah. To be sure, there have been many who have helped in that endeavor: individuals such as Walter Hartridge, Mills B. Lane, Jim Williams, among others, and larger entities like SCAD have also made impressions. However, between 1955 and the late 1970s, no one did more to preserve Savannah than HSF,” Arvay said. “I am humbled to play a small part in that on-going legacy, which still does so much to protect Savannah's most unique and valuable of all assets – its historic buildings."

HSF has grown into one of the most respected local preservation organizations in the country — emphasizing not only the protection of individual historic buildings but also the revitalization of blighted neighborhoods. HSF demonstrates the cultural, social and economic benefits of preservation as good public policy by proving that preservation and progress go hand-in-hand.