Greenwood is looking to get neighborhood streets around downtown listed on a national historic register, with the hope of helping residents restore their homes.
City officials and Restore Old Town Greenwood, a group focused on rejuvenating downtown, want to create a historic residential district near downtown. With that designation, about 300 homes could quality for grant funding or tax credits if homeowners choose to renovate or restore the property. The city also could qualify for federal grants to work on other buildings along the residential blocks inside the historic district.
Homeowners living inside the district wouldn’t have restrictions on what they could or couldn’t do to their house. For example, if a homeowner wanted to repaint their house, put up new siding or build onto the structure, they could do so as they please, city planner Ed Ferguson said.
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But if a homeowner wants the available tax credits, they would have to use specific materials that would bring the house back to a historic, original look, Ferguson said. The type of materials that would have to be used or requirements for projects, such as using brick or the size of a front porch, will depend on when and how each home was originally built, Ferguson said.
The historic district would include homes north of Main Street, such as on Euclid Avenue, Broadway, Pearl, Wiley and Brewer streets. The buildings that house shops and restaurants along Main Street and Madison Avenue in downtown Greenwood are a part of the city’s historic commercial district that was designated almost 30 years ago, so adding a residential district nearby blends well with the character of downtown, Ferguson said.
Officials hope if one or two homeowners decide to restore their house to an older look, it will encourage nearby residents to do the same, Ferguson said. And renovating and restoring homes to meet the guidelines of the historic residential area would be a nice complement to downtown, where 22 buildings are undergoing façade renovations, Ferguson said.
“By establishing a historic district, homeowners will take notice and hopefully take a little more pride in their neighborhood and in their own property,” Ferguson said. “We hope they would make an extra effort to improve their home knowing their home is worthy of that historic designation.”
After Greenwood buys the current middle school, the city will have an area for a new commercial section of downtown, where more modern restaurants or shops can be built, Mayor Mark Myers said.
Adding a historic residential district will benefit residents who want to participate with tax credits, while also improving the city’s image, Myers said.
“I think it’s a plus because we are saving the history of Old Town Greenwood,” Myers said. “You’re going to have your new downtown and old downtown, and this will just be something that will complement it even more.”
This month, the city was awarded two state grants totaling $9,500 that will pay for a consultant who will study houses along streets around downtown Greenwood. The consultant will then prepare an application to have the area declared as a historic residential district by the national register in Washington, D.C.
The designation process could take up to seven months, Ferguson said.
Greenwood will hire a consultant to study several areas in downtown such as Broadway, Pearl and Brewer streets. The city will then apply for those areas to be listed as a historic residential district on the national register. That designation would mean:
- Tax credits for homeowners in the district who renovate, build onto, or restore their home to a historic look, according to a list of materials and additions that brings the house to its original look.
- The city would become eligible for tax credits and federal grants for any work on buildings located along streets inside the district.
- Greenwood would have a historic residential district blending into its already designated historic commercial district, which is centered around the intersection of Main Street and Madison Avenue.