City looks to expand historic district

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By Jimmie Earls

Springfield residents living along Main Street may find themselves living in a national historic district if the city has its way.

“The University of Kentucky’s Archaeological Survey Department contacted us about some available federal grants for preservation work,” said Nell Haydon, director of Springfield Main Street Renaissance. “We met with some of their staff to look at some projects we’ve been wanting to do, and they have grants for up to $10,000. We requested UK to contact their agency to see if that money would qualify for extending our historical district on Main Street.”

Haydon said there are two historic districts in Springfield, one covering Main Street from Walnut Street to Doctor Street, and another along a portion of Walnut Street. She said the city would like to expand the historic designation on Main Street to include up to the board of education building down to Commercial Avenue.

“This grant would allow the UK staff to complete all of the paperwork to put all of those properties on the national historic register,” Haydon added. “There would be no requirements on the part of the property owners. It would qualify those owners for some benefits, like if they wanted to restore them architecturally-correct, they could qualify for some significant tax credits on both the federal and state levels. The owner of the Louisville Store Building, because that building is in a historic district, qualified for tax credits. The 1816 Courthouse and the Opera House have also received tax credits because of their location in the historic district. This is an incentive for people to improve their property. It’s also a status thing. If your property is located in a national historic district, it raises the status of that property.”

Haydon asked the council’s approval to apply for the grant, which would cover the cost of completing the paperwork and application to expand the historic district.

“All of the property owners would be advised about what is going on, and the staff at UK would do all of the paperwork,” added Haydon. “We would also provide some in-kind work.”

Council member Carolyn Hardin motioned to allow the application for the grant, with a second by Ellery. The vote was unanimously in favor.

In other city business

Concerns were raised during the meeting last Tuesday about city residents blocking sidewalks with trash cans or motor vehicles.

“This is something that the city gets phone calls about periodically,” said Springfield City Administrator Laurie Smith. “This is something that people need to be aware of, and it’s easy to correct. People absolutely don’t do this to be vicious, they simply do this without thinking. Many of us are not confined to walkers and wheelchairs, and some people are parking on the sidewalks, they place their garbage cans on the sidewalk and they pull their kids’ toys and sports equipment like basketball goals out there, too. They’re not thinking about the person who could be in a wheelchair or using a walker. We need to be very vigilant, and just because we can walk around it safely doesn’t mean that someone who is handicapped or someone using a baby stroller or a walker can. That garbage can might keep them from getting where they need to go. We just want the residents of the city to be aware that garbage cans and recycling bins need to be on the property line in the grass, not on the sidewalk.”

• Glenn Mattingly of the city’s public works department said remodeling of the concession stand at Idle Hour Park could begin some time after the harvest festival. He added that materials would cost about $1,500.

“We can add about 100 square feet, give or take, for that amount,” he said. “It would improve the building’s curb appeal, make it more functional and more efficient.”

Springfield Mayor John Cecconi told Mattingly, “Being that there are no objections, when the time is right, strike.”

• The city received three bids to do work on the light poles on the two top ball fields at Idle Hour Park. Because of inconsistencies in the bids, a committee consisting of Mattingly, park director Bernard Smalley and council member Paul Borders will oversee the bids and ask each bidding company to clarify their bids.

• The council had the second readings of ordinances concerning property taxes and motor vehicle taxes. The rates will remain the same as last year, with the rate on real and personal property remaining at $.13 per $100 of assessed value, and a rate of $.148 per $100 of assessed value on all motor vehicles, watercraft and aircraft. Council member Mike Elliott motioned to accept the second reading of the real and personal property tax ordinance, with a second by Borders. The council voted 5-0 in favor with council member Debbie Wakefield absent. Ellery motioned to accept the motor vehicle tax ordinance, with a second by Elliott. The vote was 5-0 in favor.

• Mayor Cecconi signed executive orders re-appointing Kathy Elliott, Fran Carrico and Margaret Goatley to the Main Street/Renaissance Committee. Elliott and Carrico will each serve an additional three-year term, expiring in Sept. 2013, while Goatley will serve another two-year term, expiring in Sept. 2012. Council member Willie Ellery motioned to accept the executive orders, with a second by John Hardin. The council voted unanimously in favor.