The Historic Preservation Commission discussed a potential starting point for creating historic districts in Bowling Green.
As the HPC discussed the creation of a Boomtown Historic District during the October meeting – one of the group’s strategic goals – member Will Roudebush said he’d sent around the idea to members about potentially designating historic districts by street – such as Wooster, Church, Court and others. He noted that in the city’s historic preservation ordinance, properties in a district must be contiguous. He said the idea may also interest property owners in getting their properties listed on the local historic register.
“There’s a lot of history in these streets,” Roudebush said, noting, for instance, that a home in the 100 block of Prospect Street hosted the wedding of Jimmy Hoffa.
HPC Chair Chris Mowen said that a street-by-street approach could be beneficial from a manageability standpoint.
“When we were talking about Boomtown,” she said, “the national registry of Boomtown is 200 properties… If it’s something that we’re trying to do grassroots-level, that’s hard to manage.”
Mowen noted, however, that they want to be thoughtful about the process. She further said she wants the community to be aware that the HPC is always willing to hear feedback and that if someone wishes to come up with an idea for a district, they’re willing to hear about it.
HPC member John Sampen raised the concern that the street-by-street approach, with one district perhaps created one year, and another the next, could “take decades, perhaps.”
“I just want to get this started,” he said. “It’d be nice if we could do a big district all at once,” but Sampen acknowledged the logistical challenges involved.
“I do think there are certain streets, North Maple, for example, that I think we could move forward very quickly with,” Sampen said. “And I think we need to try and experiment and maybe that’s it, and we see how we go from there.”
Mowen said that if this is a route they wish to pursue, that HPC may want to think about where to start and how to go forward.
“From a manageability standpoint it seems … less daunting,” Mowen said. She said that the more the HPC moves forward with some planned educational programming “I’m hoping to see a snowball of excitement when it comes to the districts.”
Roudebush said that he would look forward into how they might proceed with creating districts street-by-street and what that may look like, and have something for the HPC’s next meeting.
Sampen noted that district proposals will have to go before council first before they can formally move ahead.
The HPC set their next meeting for Nov. 22 at 4 p.m.