City council reviews possible historic sites

The Huntington Common Council reviewed a list of sites in Huntington that are candidates to receive local historic designations during its meeting on Tuesday, July 9.

The list of sites was compiled by Huntington Alert Inc., a local historic preservation group, and forwarded to the Huntington Historic Review Board, which is a governmental body that makes recommendations to council regarding the assignment of historic designations.

Huntington Alert’s list featured the following locations:

– Park at triangle of Gardendale Avenue and Maple Drive, 1546 Gardendale Ave.

– Elmwood Park, 1110 William St.

– Laurie Park, 524 Swan St.

– Memorial Park and Sunken Gardens, 1125 W. Park Drive.

– Huntington County Courthouse, 201 N. Jefferson St.

– Huntington City Building, 300 Cherry St.

– Schenkel Station, formerly the Wabash Railroad passenger depot, 11 W. State St.

– The former Huntington County Courthouse Annex, formerly National City Bank, 354 N. Jefferson St.

– Erie Railroad Bridge, 968 Riverside Drive.

The Historic Review Board passed along all but two of those locations to council, removing the Huntington County Courthouse and the former Huntington County Courthouse Annex. Of the courthouse, the board recommended that the Huntington County Commissioners’ approval be sought before council considered giving out a historic designation. As for the former annex, the Huntington Redevelopment Commission, which owns the building, stated that it was not interested in a historic designation at this time.

A local historic designation protects a public property that is considered to have historical value and prescribes preservation guidelines for it.

The power to confer historic designations rests with council while the Historic Review Board is in charge of drafting the preservation guidelines.

Bryn Keplinger, director of Huntington’s Community Development and Redevelopment Department, noted that the guidelines elucidate what changes can and cannot be made to a property. The board generates those guidelines after researching a property.

To grant a historic designation, council passes an ordinance, which contains the specific preservation guidelines for a property. Before deciding to instruct the Historic Review Board to move forward with creating guidelines for the properties that are up for designations, council requested that Keplinger provide it with an example of a designation ordinance so that it can review the document and get familiarized with the designation process before initiating it. Keplinger replied that he would have the requested paperwork to council in time for its next meeting, which will be Tuesday, July 23, at 6:45 a.m.