BG gets tips on preserving history PDF Print E-mail
Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor   
Thursday, 11 April 2013 10:55
Historic homes are seen along North Prospect Street in Bowling Green. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
A local ordinance is the key to historical preservation efforts, Bowling Green and Wood County officials and residents were told last week.
Nathan Bevil, certified local government and preservation services manager of the Ohio Historical Preservation Office, said being listed on the National Register of Historic Places "does not protect anything." Bevil said municipalities, counties and townships can protect what they consider important through ordinances and laws. "The Certified Local Governments program provides a way to accomplish preservation," he said.
The recently demolished BG Senior High/Junior High building in the 200 block of West Wooster Street, is an example of a building that was on the national register.
There are 56 CLG's in Ohio, one of which is Perrysburg. Cities range in size from Columbus to Mount Pleasant in extreme southeast Ohio with a population of 478 in the 2010 census. Oxford, home of Miami University, has been a CLG for many years, while Kent, home of Kent State University, recently became a member. Bevil said Athens, home of Ohio University, is in the process of becoming a member.
Bevil was invited to Bowling Green as an outgrowth of recent development proposals around the area of the Wood County Courthouse and other downtown areas. During discussions about those developments Mayor Richard Edwards said he had a long-standing interest in a historic district for the courthouse area.
The courthouse and nearby former Wood County Jail building are already on the national register as part of the Main Street Historic District. The  Boomtown Historic District is located on West Wooster Street with extensions onto several side streets.
"I am eager to learn more and engage in further discussions," Edwards said in an interview a day after the meeting.
The mayor noted Bowling Green State University's plans to eventually demolish the Administration Building to open up the campus view to the downtown. "I see some real opportunities and am encouraged by what I heard. I want to talk with council, the neighbors and the property owners," Edwards said.
Bevil was invited to BG by City Planning Director Heather Sayler. Last week's session was held in conjunction with city council's Community Improvement Committee, chaired by John Zanfardino. Council members Daniel Gordon, Sandy Rowland and Bob McOmber also attended.
To become certified the city must:
• Establish a qualified review commission with at least five members who designate historic properties and review proposed changes to the historic environment.
• Approve a historic preservation ordinance to protect resources and offer guidance to those wishing to make changes to historic districts and sites.
• Establish a procedure to identify historic properties by which they can be surveyed, recorded and designated locally and nominated to the National  Register of Historic Places.
• Establish a public participation program which invites and encourages citizens to participate in the community's historic preservation program.
The city could then seek CLG status, which requires review by the state preservation office and recommendation to the National Park Service, which  has the final word. A successful listing would qualify the city to seek historic preservation grants through the state office and owners of properties would qualify for tax credits at both the federal and state level.
"Typically the process takes three to six months to accomplish," Bevil said.
The CLG program is voluntary, Bevil said, and any member can terminate its program through a written request. A member could also be decertified for not meeting program standards.
Bevil said the idea is not to deny personal property rights. "The program doesn't say you can't develop or you can't change something. The ideas is to help guide development." He said some communities have a 120-day delay on demolition to explore other options, while some communities, such as Charleston, S.C., allow no demolition.
Last Updated on Thursday, 11 April 2013 11:16

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