Muscatine To Study Potential Neighborhood Recognition - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Muscatine To Study Potential Neighborhood Recognition

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Preserving properties with rich history. Every city has aging areas and some are taking steps to keep them vibrant. Muscatine wants special recognition for a couple of its neighborhoods.

The city has two areas it's going to study for potential to be on the National Register of Historic Places. They are: about 130 properties in the Fair Oaks area, as well as another 35 homes on Colver Street. For these neighborhoods it could mean not only recognition, but also help stimulate stabilization.

Fair Oaks was developed mostly in the nineteen-teens and 1920's. Colver Street is mostly 1900's to 1950's. The city will soon begin a survey of each house to see if it could be a good fit for the National Register of Historic Places. "It's just really recognition of properties that have significance in the community," said Devin Pettit, a commission member.

Along with the recognition comes eligibility of state and federal tax credits. A combined up to 45% on upgrades the homeowner might do. "To hopefully stabilize a lot of these neighborhoods. Some of them are not in that good of shape. We hope the recognition allows people to go in and hopefully get some of those tax credits and fix them up and keep them up," added Pettit.

It could mean restrictions on certain projects if residents decided to use the tax credits. Pettit says something like switching from tiled roof to shingles would likely be rejected. But just having the historic designation wouldn't keep homeowners locked out on everything. "You can tear them down whenever you want without any permission."

The hope is to spruce up as many properties and possible, and that having that designation will be a bigger draw to the area as it already is in the city's two other historic districts. "There's been a lot of people who've moved into the West Hill neighborhood since it's been designated and fixed up," said Pettit, "there's a lot of people interested. It does attract people to those neighborhoods."

The survey will take place over the next few months. A consultant will look at things like the property's age, integrity, and historical significance. Then a report is sent to the state to see if it qualifies for the historic registry or if a more in-depth survey is needed. The study is costing more than $9,700. That money was raised by the Muscatine Historical Preservation Commission.