Heritage Planning & Historic Preservation
The Heritage Commission is charged with researching and publishing property histories and recommending the establishment of historic districts. The Downtown Historic District, the first one established, is a local historic district administered by local regulations and review by the Historic District Commission. Consideration should be given to also listing the Downtown Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places to provide the honor and recognition that accompanies listing on the register. Unlike local districts, a National Register district is purely honorary and does not provide any regulation or oversight unless federal funding is provided.
In addition to downtown, the Heritage Commission is interested in protecting the historic scenic gateways into downtown. Court Street, Washington Street and the south end of Main Street all boast an abundance of historic homes and buildings that should be protected to preserve the character of these individual neighborhoods. Each of these areas should become a local historic district, a National Register district, or both.
Beyond the creation of formal historic districts, the Heritage Commission and the city should work with neighborhood groups to explore the need and desire to develop “neighborhood heritage districts” to oversee and affect the changes taking place in our historic residential neighborhoods as they undergo rapid evolution and demographic changes.
Historic preservation should also be further integrated into other local land-use and building regulations. Potential impact on historical and cultural resources needs to be taken into account in decisions about economic development, building permits and compliance, infrastructure, land-use planning, and housing. Local government and community organizations must coordinate and support an effective historic preservation program.