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Charleston eyes more East End properties for Historic Register

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Property owners of historic structures in much of the East End could have access to tax credits for building renovations if a plan succeeds to add part of the neighborhood to the National Register of Historic Places.

City council approved funding sources to conduct an architectural survey of the area in question during its meeting Monday night.

"This is great news for the neighborhood," said East End Main Street Director Ric Cavender.

The new district, dubbed the "East End North Historic District," would include all of the blocks form Bradford Street to the state Capitol, and from Lee Street to Piedmont Road.

Currently, historic structures on Kanawha Boulevard, Virginia and Quarrier streets between Bradford Street and the Capitol are in the East End Historic District.

But unlike the current historic district, the East End North district would not subject buildings to design review before renovations can take place, Cavender said.

In order for the area to even apply to be listed on the National Register, a survey of every structure in the proposed district must be conducted. The survey will examine historic buildings in the area, formally defined as "contributing structures."

The results from the survey will allow the State Office of Historic Preservation and the National Park Service to analyze the contributing structures of the neighborhood to determine its eligibility for the National Register.

The survey, which will be conducted by Michael Gioulis, a historic preservation consultant based in Sutton, will cost $40,000.

The funds will not end up coming from city coffers, however. Instead, $14,000 will come from a State Historic Preservation Office grant, and the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority will provide the remaining $26,000.

Cavender said the survey is very time-consuming, and it will be awhile before the entire process is finished.

In other business, city council:

* Gave final approval to the Imagine Charleston comprehensive plan, which will direct planning and development efforts in the city for at least a decade.

Councilwoman Mary Jean Davis told council members the plan is a product of 22 months of work and 52 different meetings concerning the subject.

City Planning Director Dan Vriendt said the plan includes an "unprecedented amount of citizen input."

"This plan truly reflects the will of the community," he said.

The plan is still viewable online at www.imaginecharleston.com.

* Conducted a public hearing on an ordinance that would change the city's election cycle to match county and state contests. No one from the public spoke on the bill, which was referred to council's Ordinance & Rules Committee for consideration.

* Heard from representatives of the YWCA Charleston about its activities to observe Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October. The local YWCA is one of 30 selected by the Allstate Foundation to participate in the "Purple Purse Project," which will raise money for the YWCA for its "Resolve Family Abuse Program."

* Referred two new ordinances to the Urban Renewal Committee that pertain to expired urban renewal districts. One bill would reenact the "Downtown/Old Charleston Urban Renewal Plan" and the other would reenact the "West Side Urban Renewal Plan." The downtown plan previously expired in 2008, and the West Side plan expired in 2005.

CURA has asked for both plans to be reintroduced. Both plans were referred to the Urban Renewal Committee for consideration.

* Referred a new ordinance to council's Public Safety Committee that would raise the rates the city can charge for ambulance transportation and for medical services provided by city emergency service personnel.

Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Murphy@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.


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