Your City, Your Business: History helps pave the way for the future
Duluth's downtown has gained a lot of attention in the past year for its wealth of historic properties. From having buildings surveyed for a potential historic district to learning more about historic tax credits, our community is getting a taste...
Duluth's downtown has gained a lot of attention in the past year for its wealth of historic properties. From having buildings surveyed for a potential historic district to learning more about historic tax credits, our community is getting a taste for utilizing historic preservation as a tool for economic development.
The spotlight started to shine on our downtown when Duluth received a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Knight Foundation. Experts from the trust conducted an assessment of our community and provided recommendations on how to better assist us in such areas as renovating historic structures and developing heritage tourism. Now some of those recommendations are starting to take shape.
Survey work by the trust and the State Historic Preservation Office is well underway to determine possible boundaries for an historic district in downtown Duluth. Those experts continue to stress that there is not a "downside" for a property owner to be included in a federally designated historic district. And the "upside" comes in the form of being able to tap into a new tool if property owners are looking to renovate their structures, as they could be eligible for historic tax credits. While many downtown stakeholders are still trying to become further educated on historic districts and tax credits, there is a great amount of interest in pursuing such a project. This was not the case years ago.
Thanks to the trust, training sessions have been provided to start to put the wheels in motion for those who are interested in learning more, or pursuing a rehabilitation project. This training alone has helped to make many in the business community more comfortable with utilizing historic preservation as an economic development tool.
Great things can happen in our community, especially our downtown, if we all work together. It appears that this grant from the National Trust has been a catalyst for getting those who represent developers and those who represent preservationists to team up to see what type of projects can be tackled to further strengthen our community.