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May 23, 2010

Informational meeting focuses on historic preservation and Local Historic Districts

Nan Taylor of the Michigan Historic Preservation Network and National Trust for Historic Preservation spoke Friday morning during an informational meeting at the Riviera Theatre.

Historic preservation was in the spotlight Friday morning (May 21st) at the Riviera Theatre in downtown Three Rivers as the Local Historic District Study Committee hosted an informational meeting.  The meeting was held for building owners within the proposed Local Historic District and other persons with an interest in the topic.

The meeting featured a presentation by Nan Taylor, field representative with the Michigan Historic Preservation Network (MHPN) and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) on “Historic Designations and Preservation Incentives.”

Taylor zeroed in on the National Historic District, something that downtown Three Rivers has had in place since 1982, and the Local Historic District, a designation currently being explored by the seven-member Local Historic District Committee appointed by the Three Rivers City Commission in February.

Taylor's presentation included comments about the benefits associated with historic designations.

In a presentation that lasted a little over an hour, Taylor provided an overview regarding the districts, the process involved in establishing them, and the preservation benefits they bring.  She cited the following benefits of historic designations:

•    Preserves the rich heritage of neighborhoods, downtowns, and buildings
•    Improves the quality of life by maintaining a unique architectural environment
•    Can stabilize and increase property values
•    Federal and/or State rehabilitation Tax Credit Programs
•    Promotes economic development and revitalization.  (Nan_Taylor audio clip – :52)

In addition to her presentation, Taylor supplied a variety of printed materials including the 12th Annual Resource Directory, just published by Michigan Historic Preservation Network and described as “Michigan’s premiere resource for access to preservation professionals.”

In his wrap-up comments, Curt Penny, chairman of the Local Historic District Study Committee, said it is “a good group that is working hard” and has decided to keep the boundaries of the proposed Local Historic District the same as those of the National Historic District.  He said the desire was to “keep it simple” now.  However, he said, “In the future, we could entertain bringing in other buildings or resources.”

Penny said the committee is “in the preliminary report part of the process” and intends to “spend a couple more months on the preliminary report” before sending it off the planning commission, city commission and the state office.  He expressed hope that the committee’s report can be submitted to the city commission in the fall for public comment.  (Curt_Penny audio clip – 1:17)


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