Downtown district nominated for National Register designation
By CATHERINE LEGG / Community Columnist
On Aug. 21, a public meeting was held in the theatre of Parnell Memorial Library to give information and answer questions relative to the consideration by the Alabama National Register Review Board for the nomination of the downtown historic district to the National Register of Historic Places.
David Schneider of Schneider Historic Preservation LLC was the featured speaker at the event sponsored by the Montevallo Historical Preservation Commission. Chairman John Lott and other members of the commission were also present to answer questions.
Schneider explained that the district includes all of the buildings, 50 years or older, in an area bordered by Shelby, Valley, Bloch and Island Streets.
The goal of the NRHP is to identify, evaluate, and protect historic resources. NRHP eligibility includes historic and architectural resources that reflect all facets of American life, especially those that are locally significant.
Schneider emphasized some of the things that the NRHP does. They identify eligible properties; encourage preservation; enable federal, state, and local agencies to consider those properties in planning projects; make owners of historic properties eligible to apply for federal grants for preservation activities; encourage the rehabilitation of income-producing historic properties; and discourage the demolition of income-producing properties through tax disincentives.
The speaker then stressed some things the NRHP does not do. They do not restrict the rights of private property owners in the use, development or sale of private historic properties. The designation doe not lead automatically to historic district zoning, nor does it force federal, state, local or private projects to be stopped. The NRHP does not guarantee that grant funds will be available for all significant historic properties, and they do not provide tax benefits to owners of residential historic properties unless those properties are rental and treated as income-producing by the IRS.
The MHPC members are, along with Lott, Janice Seaman, Henry Emfinger, Catherine Legg, Marshall Goggins, Earl Cunningham, Bruce McClanahan, Rusty Nix, and Melinda Nix. Meetings are held monthly on the first Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. at the Fox and Pheasant.
The public is welcome at all meetings.
Catherine Legg can be reached at email@example.com.