Bath Supervisors To Hear About Historic District Survey
On February 14th, the Bath County Board of Supervisors will re-evaluate a decision made previously to not move forward on a historic survey for the Warm Springs, and possibly wider, area .
The criteria for any community to nominate itself as a historic district are spelled out by Department of Historic Resources. After identifying the region for the project area, the process includes discussion of the “resource and the historic context”. Preservation Bath is the local organization willing to facilitate the process. While Preservation Bath might be requesting some funding from the supervisors, they do so expecting to see a much larger return on the initial investment. After identification of the area comes evaluation, and then, IF designated as an historic district, residents would begin to make decisions about treatment and protection of their surroundings.
The Department of Historic Resources, or DHR, describes the first step this way.
“Surveys go beyond focusing on traditional “historic landmarks” such as 18th-century plantation houses or grand public buildings, or churches and courthouses. Surveys also include simple vernacular 19th-century dwellings, streetcar suburbs, planned communities, barns and other agricultural structures. They cover bridges, cemeteries, factories, commercial structures, statues, and even carousels, tugboats, and structures associated with space exploration.”
According to the DHR website, here are many documented benefits a Historic District Designation brings to a community – among those of interest to Bath are:
- Local districts protect the investments of owners and residents of historic properties. Insensitive or poorly planned development can make an area less attractive to investors and homebuyers, and thus undermine property value. In contrast, historic districts designation encourages people to buy and rehabilitate properties because they know their investment is protected over time.
- Historic districts can positively impact the local economy through tourism. According to a 2009 report, 78% of all US leisure travelers are cultural and/or heritage travelers who spent on average $994 on their most recent trips- compared to $611 spent by non-cultural and heritage travelers.
- Protecting local historic districts can enhance business recruitment potential. Companies continually relocate to communities that offer their workers a higher quality of life, which successful preservation and stable districts enhance.
- Local districts give communities a voice in their future. By participating in the designation process, citizens can help direct their communities’ path. Making these decisions together in a structured way -rather than behind closed doors or without public comment- gives everyone a sense of empowerment and confidence.