Bill Weyland receives 2024 Ida Lee Willis Historic Preservation Award

Bill Weyland of Louisville honored with 2024 Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation Historic Preservation Award


FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 31, 2024) – Nine awards celebrating historic preservation projects and advocates from across Kentucky were presented Wednesday, May 22, at the National Historic Landmark Old State Capitol in Frankfort by the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Foundation, named for Kentucky’s first state historic preservation officer.

Bill Weyland of Louisville received the highest honor bestowed during the ceremony, the Ida Lee Willis Memorial Award, for a lifetime of investment and redevelopment of some of Louisville’s most iconic buildings, including the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, Whiskey Row Lofts, Glassworks and many more. One of his most recent developments, Myriad Hotel, is the site of a former disco ball factory.

Together, these projects represent hundreds of millions of dollars of investment in revitalization across the Metro, projects that create jobs, support high-profile businesses, provide housing, and draw people from all over the world to Louisville. He described himself as “a serial user” of historic rehabilitation tax credits to make these projects financially feasible.

Weyland is an award-winning architect, real estate broker, and founder of Weyland Ventures (formerly CITY Properties Group), through which, for over three decades, he has spearheaded a professional team developing key urban projects. He’s also a partner in City Visions as a national consultant specializing in revitalizing cities through preservation and tax credit strategies.

Preservation Project Awards were presented for the restoration of the Belle Louise Historic Guest House in Paducah, a circa-1879 Italianate home in the Lower Town National Register Historic District, rehabilitated by Cary and Melinda Winchester; Rockdale, a property in eastern Jefferson County owned by Donald Wenzel and Ron Darnell, including 13 acres anchored by a circa-1840s brick masonry home and 1790s original stone house, located in the Tyler Settlement Rural National Register District; the Sower Building in Frankfort, an iconic downtown commercial building owned by John and Phyllis Sower, redeveloped into a modern, multiuse retail and living space retaining its original historic charm; and St. Joseph Catholic Church in Bowling Green, for the extensive rehabilitation and preservation of this “High Victorian Gothic” church listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Service to Preservation Awards went to the city of Covington and Enzweiler Building Institute for creation of the Covington Academy of Heritage Trades, using federal Certified Local Government grants to add historic preservation to the institute’s trades curriculum using a city building to provide hands-on instruction; historian Harold Edwards of Perryville, for taking every opportunity to volunteer and advocate for the preservation of his hometown as well as the Perryville Battlefield and early buildings associated with the American Civil War; and to the city of Pineville and Main Street Pineville for purchasing the iconic Bell Theater, a 1939 Art Deco structure that had sat empty for 40 years, and restoring it with design assistance from the Kentucky Main Street Program, creating a major catalyst for additional downtown development.

A Grassroots Preservation Award was presented to Friends of Huntertown Community Interpretive Park, a diverse group that created an extensive research project that culminated in 38 acres of the former community being accepted into the Versailles-Woodford County Parks system to honor its African American heritage.

The awards are presented each May during National Historic Preservation Month and celebrate advocacy, investment, volunteerism, building partnerships, public involvement, lifelong commitment and significant achievement.

The event was sponsored in partnership with the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office.

Photos of the event and awards winners are available at

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An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of prehistoric resources and historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens.