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Efforts continue to put part of Esky downtown on historic list

September 15, 2012
By Jenny Lancour - Staff Writer , Daily Press

ESCANABA - A preliminary report has been completed to apply for the 600 block of Ludington Street to be listed on the national registry of historic places. The study was presented to the Escanaba Planning Commission for review on Thursday.

The report was done specifically for the one-block area but also in anticipation of the city eventually applying for the entire downtown to be designated on the National Register of Historic Places, explained Peter Strom, chairman of the Historic District Study Committee.

Strom said the study will be passed on to a consultant retained by the State Historic Preservation Office to gather information for an application to nominate downtown Escanaba on the National Register of Historic Places.

Article Photos

Jenny Lancour | Daily Press
The north side of the 600 block of Ludington Street is shown. Efforts are underway to have the 600 block of Ludington Street listed as a historic place.

Being on the national registry is a process required before a single property or a specific area can voluntarily apply for designation as a historic district. Once approved as a historic district, property owners can apply for tax credits on renovations that meet state standards for preserving historic property.

Properties listed only on the National Register of Historic Places do not have to conform to the state's historical requirements when doing renovations, noted Blaine DeGrave, director of the Escanaba Community Preservation Department.

The Lofts on Ludington, made up of apartments and retail space at 1615 Ludington St., is the only historic district in Escanaba and is considered "a single resource district" because it is just one business, explained City Manager Jim O'Toole.

Strom informed commissioners Thursday there are "gems" of historical architecture in the 600 block area, which includes buildings more than 100 years old. Specific architectural designs are outlined in the study along with the history of the businesses on both sides of the street, he said.

Strom said the committee is hopeful the study can be used as a tool for the Downtown Development Authority and the city to spur future investments and economic development in the downtown area.

The preliminary report is available for public review on the city's website and at city hall. A public hearing will take place on the document at the planning commission's regular meeting on Oct. 11.

In addition to the local planning commission, the report will also be submitted to the State Historic Preservation Office, the Michigan Historical Commission, and the State Historic Preservation Review Board.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143,



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