Interactive map is tweaked by Historic Preservation Commission

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 | 10:57 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Soon Columbia residents will be able to virtually “walk” the city's streets without ever having to leave home.

Progress on an interactive historical map of Columbia was discussed during Tuesday’s Historic Preservation Commission meeting.

The proposed interactive map will include approximately 100 notable properties in the area, including locations such as The Miller Building, former home of Miller Shoe Store, at 800 E. Broadway. The map will also provide background information about the location’s previous and current significance to mid-Missouri.

The commission discussed about 20 locations that were up for debate to be included in the final list.

Some items on the list marked properties where notable buildings used to stand but have since been demolished or burned down. The commission weighed whether the locations should make the final cut based upon factors including the property's level of "historical integrity."

Historic preservation consultant Debbie Sheals, a guest at Tuesday’s meeting and a contributor to the project, had faced a similar dilemma on past projects. She said that including demolished buildings in the map could be paradoxical.

“It’s like you’re celebrating your losses,” Sheals said.

Commission Chairman Brian Treece initially took the position that those land plots which contained now-demolished buildings should remain on the map. After listening to other commission members’ input, however, he changed his mind.

“It’s a map, and you usually use a map to go places,” Treece said.

Ultimately, the commission reached a consensus, deciding that the map should include only standing historical buildings.

Commission Vice Chairman Brent Gardner said that the possibility of including demolished buildings on the map could be addressed after the current project is complete.

The online version of the map will include information about and, when available, pictures of each notable property. The information can also act as a guide for those who want to physically visit the featured locations.

Completion of the final product is slated for the spring.

“This is such a fun project,” Sheals said.

“I think this rocks,” Gardner added.

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