Price, businesses consider forming historical district
The Price Main Street program board, in cooperation with the downtown business community and the city, is considering becoming a historical district on the National Register of Historic Places.
According to the Utah Division of State History, the National Register of Historic Places is the official federal list of properties that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology and engineering.
Primarily, the benefit of being listing on the national register is the honorary recognition of the historic or architectural significance of a property.
However, historical designation also allows owners to qualify for federal and/or state rehabilitation tax credits or grants, when available.
"Listing on the National Register can also help educate the public and change a community's perception of its historic and cultural resources," added the division of state history.
A common concern associated with listing on the National Register is that building owners will be limited in their right's to alter, manage or dispose of the listed property.
But according to the division of state history, listing on the National Register does not interfere with a private property owner's rights or their individual decisions regarding their property.
The owner is not required to restore or maintain the property or open it to the public.
Local preservation ordinances, where present, may have some implication for a building owner.
But if Price's downtown were to be added to the register, the business members of the Price Main Street board would propose most of the local ordinances.
The legal owner also has the right to object to and prevent the listing of private property, pointed out the state history office.
According to community director Nick Tatton, Price is eager to aid the local business community in anyway possible.
"Price city is committed to the advancement of local businesses and assisting them in the most productive manner possible," commented the community director..
"Designation of the downtown area as a historic district may serve the business community for many years," continued Tatton.
The requirements for listing a building, house or district on the National Register include:
The structure must be at least 50 years old.
It must retain its architectural integrity. A commonly used rule of thumb for judging if the structure meets National Register criteria is whether or not the original owner would still recognize the building.
The structure must be significant. This significance can be national, state-wide, or even local, but must meet at least one of the following criterion: have an association with important events; have an association with significant persons; have architectural significance, or have archeological significance.
On March 1, the Price Main Street board hosting Utah Division of State History representative Cory Jensen at their regular board meeting to discuss the overall ramifications of becoming a historical district. The Price Main Street board meetings are open to the public and begin at noon in room 207 of Price City Hall.
"Getting informed about the true facts of historical designation is the best way to determine if the National Register is the best direction for Price City's downtown business district," commented Main Street Program Coordinator Melanie Steele. "We would miss a great opportunity if we didn't seek designation based on unfounded rumors or hearsay."
If the Main Street Program board and Price City agreed to proceed with seeking a National Register nomination for the nearly 50 historical buildings in downtown Price, the application process would soon begin. Price City, as a Certified Local Government (CLG) with the State of Utah, has already submitted a grant application to the state CLG program. Because the documentation and application process is extensive and complicated, Price City would use the grant money to hire a consultant to complete the project.
"Handling funding requests and development of an interaction between the Price City Certified Local Government (CLG) which is the Price City Historic Commission, and the objectives of the Price City Main Street Design Committee is a very long and detailed process," Tatton pointed out. "Everyone must be in agreement on the best direction and committed to that direction for the results to happen positively for the business community."
In order to be considered for a National Register district, all properties in the suggested boundaries must be researched and documented, including current photos of each location. Next, applicants must prepare the National Register nomination form using the results of their research and documentation.
The completed nomination is then presented to the Board of State History for review. With their approval, it is then submitted to the National Park Service in Washington, DC for a final review. The entire nomination process usually takes about six months, pointed out the state office.
The state of Utah has over 1,000 individual sites on the National Register, from mansions to prehistoric pithouses, according to the state office. There are also over 50 historic and archeological districts containing several thousand additional sites, including Helper's historic downtown district.
Carbon County residents wishing to learn more about the Price Main Street Program or National Register designation can contact Melanie Steele at 820-1290. Residents can also visit the Division of State History's website at http://history.utah.gov/.