Ad Spot

Preservation commission wants historic districts

This map shows Demopolis' federally-designated historic district.

This map shows Demopolis’ federally-designated National Historic District.

The Demopolis Historic Preservation Commission hopes local historic districts will help preserve the city’s character and charm for generations to come.

The commission will work this fall to get community member’s input on four possible districts.

The move comes after the city’s National Historic District was expanded beyond downtown businesses. The designation, while notable, is honorary and doesn’t include any guidelines on what homes and businesses can do to keep their historic appearance.

“Our plan is to try to sell this and promote why historic districts are important and why you need them,” said commission member Brian Brooker. “It’s past, history and character that exists no where else.”

Historic districts can lead to an increase in property values and tourism, Brooker said.

As part of expanding the city’s federal historic district, the commission had hundreds of properties individually surveyed by a consultant — a time consuming process.

The consultant, who was paid by grants, looked at some of Demopolis’ nicest homes and ones that are falling in on themselves.

“Dilapidated properties are contributing structures too. They tell a story of what lives were like in Demopolis,” Brooker said. “We don’t only have Gaineswood and Lyon Hall. It’s not just the best of the best houses that have our historic character — it’s a combination of all of them.”

The survey classified properties as contributing to the city’s federal historic district or not. Some properties were listed as contributing but altered while others were changed too much to be considered.

Local historic districts would not have to follow the same guidelines, which were set by the National Park Service. For example, Morning Star Baptist Church didn’t make the federal district because of its distance from other contributing properties. A local district would be able to include it.

All local districts would have to be approved by the Demopolis City Council. The council would also set any guidelines on what property owners can and cannot do in these districts.

District guidelines in Alabama vary widely from open to as detailed as what exterior paint colors are allowed.

When a property owner applies for a building permit, they would have to meet the historic district guidelines as well as building codes.

The commission would like to see four districts between the canal and the river, including a River District, Town District, Church District and Old School District.

In time, they would also like to see one “endangered” property in each of those districts saved and preserved possibly even for public use.

While there are possible tax incentives for businesses that preserve property in the district, those benefits don’t extend to homes.

The commission will announce town hall meetings later this fall for all four districts. Those dates and times will be published in future editions of The Demopolis Times.

News

Lane’s Tire Pros named April Business of the Month

Blackbelt Gazette

State approves new projects for George P. Austin Middle School

Blackbelt Gazette

Demopolis City Schools Foundation to host first virtual event with DHS students

Blackbelt Gazette

Letters of failing grades sent home to parents

Blackbelt Gazette

Marengo County 2021 property tax to be held online

Blackbelt Gazette

Demopolis City Council aims to preserve century old jail cell

Blackbelt Gazette

Severe weather drops tornadoes across Marengo County

News

Congresswoman Terri Sewell Statement on 2022 U.S. Senate Race

Blackbelt Gazette

Demopolis Lady Tigers softball has victories over Thomasville and Excel

Blackbelt Gazette

Windham Motors car theft investigation still ongoing

Blackbelt Gazette

Local businesses weigh mask requirements

Blackbelt Gazette

Marengo County Commission approves application for $300,000 CDBG grant

Blackbelt Gazette

Linden City Council discusses the old Fun Factory property during a closed session

Blackbelt Gazette

Demopolis welcomes canoe paddler traveling from Oregon to New York

Blackbelt Gazette

Gov. Ivey set to expand COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to Phase 2 groups throughout the state

Blackbelt Gazette

Henry Clellan Weaver, Jr.

Blackbelt Gazette

Kathy Ballard Moore

Blackbelt Gazette

Compare financial aid award letters to find the best college deal

News

COVID-19 vaccination eligibility expanded in Alabama

Demopolis High School

Lady Tigers defeat Sweetwater

News

USJ announces March Leaders of the month

Blackbelt Gazette

DHS tennis teams make a clean sweep in double meet

Blackbelt Gazette

Marengo County Board of Education discusses Summer Learning Program, assessment reviews

Blackbelt Gazette

Linden BOE talks extensive summer school program for struggling students