Historic District Designation Sought For Main Street

Federal recognition could give area welcomed tax reductions, grants

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Chuck Proudfoot

The Green Valley Redevelop-ment Area Committee is working in conjunction with the Historic Preservation Commission to establish sections of Main Street as historic, which could give the street a boost in grants and tax write-offs for property owners, but could also take years of work to establish.

The Ox Bow Inn on Main Street was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in November 2004 and now the GVRA would like to list several other properties including two sites where human remains were found.

Having buildings listed as historic would hopefully give the GVRA a boost with tourists and allow business owners to apply for various federal and state tax reductions and grants.

GRVA member Chuck Proudfoot said being designated as historic opens up money that the GVRA could not otherwise get at, including significant tax breaks from the federal government and state funds.

“There is some money that we just don’t have access to,” he said.

The GVRA committee took the first steps to get Main Street designated when it re-erected the Historic Preservation Commission several months ago, but Proudfoot said which buildings would be included in the district is still up in the air.

“Things are really in flux right now,” he said. “There are two proposed districts and none of them have been officially recognized by the federal historic list.”

In June, urban designer Angela Dye created a Main Street Vision and Streetscape Plan, which included a recommendation to create a historic district with 11 properties on Main Street.

GVRA chair Ken Volz has proposed calling Main Street a historic area, but Proudfoot said anyone could call an area historic; the GVRA is working on being federally recognized.

“Anyone can say that it is historic,” Proudfoot said. “What we are working on, and what I am working on, is finding out the process that the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) uses.”

Proudfoot said SHPO and the federal government has a specific process for determining a historic district that is related to the national historic preservation act.

According to the National Register of Historic Places, a property must meet certain criteria involving the property’s age, integrity, and significance to be listed.

The buildings must be at least 50 years old and look similar to the original architecture and must have some significance such as famous events or people or yield information about the past through archaeological investigations.

According to a map of the proposed historic district Volz presented to the GRVA committee on Thursday, two sites include spots where human remains were discovered.

The proposed district runs from North McLane Road east along Main Street to an empty lot and does not include the fire station.

“Our hope is to get all or some of the area designated,” Proudfoot said. “But the lines are going to change and it is still very much in process.”

When asked how long it could take for historic designation, Proudfoot said he has seen it done in 90 days and also seen it take more than three or four years.

Recently Proudfoot, the pastor at the Community Presbyterian Church, worked with another Presbyterian church to get several buildings on the Navajo Reservation listed as historic.

It took six years before the federal government approved the series of buildings including a church and school.

“It just sat and then all of a sudden it passed and we got it,” he said.

The GVRA committee will discuss the historic district further at its next meeting in early April.

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