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The Cincinnati Preservation Association has a new executive director

 Beth Johnson has been Cincinnati's urban conservator since 2016.
Beth Johnson had been Cincinnati's urban conservator since 2016.

The Cincinnati Preservation Association is getting a new executive director. Beth Johnson will replace Paul Muller, who is returning to his architectural practice in May.

Johnson says she's eager to continue educating and advocating for historic preservation. "I do get my joy from being able to work with people and educate them about history, about their homes, about preservation in general," she says. "This was an opportunity for me to stay in Cincinnati, a city that I love, a city that's my home, and be able to focus more of my energy on those efforts."

She comes to the position after serving as the city's urban conservator. Johnson says she's proud to have helped re-establish the process for reviewing potential changes to historic landmarks, or in historic districts.

"We've been able to make a process that is very clear and transparent to the public," she says. "Being able to work with architects and work with homeowners to make the process easy for them to get through and easy for them to know what is expected and to bring a level of consistency to the review process."

Johnson led the office for about six years, starting just as a fight over the Dennison Hotel was beginning.

 Preservationists fought for, but lost the the vacant Dennison Hotel to demolition.
Bill Rinehart
Preservationists fought for, but lost the the vacant Dennison Hotel to demolition.

The hotel on Main Street in downtown Cincinnati was eventually demolished in 2017. Johnson says losing it was one of her great disappointments.

"But it was also a really great learning opportunity, as well as one of the first times you had multiple groups within Cincinnati come together," she says. "You had preservation groups — there were even environmental groups and affordable housing (groups) — all kind of came together to advocate for this building. It was really a neat thing seeing that collaboration."

Johnson says she's looking forward to being more of an advocate for historic preservation in the new role, and is looking forward to working on the CPA's Black Sites initiative, documenting locations associated with Black history.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.