Columbians have long enjoyed the historic and cultural flavor of downtown. Now that the area has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, the local activity hub will gain national and state recognition for its historical significance.
The Columbia Special Business District submitted a proposal to the Missouri Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the State Historic Preservation Office in November. These nominations were then sent to Washington, D.C., for approval by the National Park Service.
Local historian Debbie Sheals documented the history of downtown Columbia and prepared some of the nominations for the proposal, which was approved last month.
“This is especially exciting for Columbia,” Sheals said
The District’s proposal was submitted as a multiple-property submission, which blankets a particular area and may include buildings that would not have qualified individually for the designation.
“Our goal was to make it easier for property owners to renovate,” said Carrie Gartner, executive director of the Downtown Columbia Associations.
The classification makes businesses and homeowners with property listed on the register eligible for state and federal tax credits on renovations. It also makes it less difficult and less costly for properties within the District to seek their own historic designation. Sheals said the tax credits will enable owners to carry out large renovation projects in accordance with the register’s quality standards.
While the addition of the District to the register does not restrict the use of the properties or restrict changes made to them, inappropriate changes could cause them to be removed from the list.
Gartner credited the renovation of the Atkins City Centre for jumpstarting interest in placing the District on the register. She said the project revitalized that area of downtown.
Individual buildings must be at least 50 years old and represent the architecture of the period of their construction.