Hobart hoping to make history with downtown on National Register

2013-05-14T21:48:00Z 2013-07-23T15:27:07Z Hobart hoping to make history with downtown on National RegisterDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

HOBART | Placing the city's downtown on the National Register of Historic Places brings benefits including notoriety, city officials said.

"We want to embark on the process. It's another feather in the hat of Hobart," said Denarie Kane, director of development.

Kane and other officials held an informational meeting Tuesday at the Community Center to explain plans to apply for a nomination that would place most of the downtown commercial district on the national listing.

A small group of business owners and residents asked questions of officials.

Tiffany Tolbert, director of the Indiana Landmarks Northwest field office, said the Lake George Commercial Historic District, which was designated in 2010 by the City Council, is partnering in its effort with the Redevelopment Commission.

"We're hoping to get the downtown listed. Hobart is one of the oldest downtowns in the area so its feasible to have it listed," Tolbert said.

Part of the nomination process includes defining the boundaries of the historical landmark district, Tolbert said.

About 56 commercial buildings on Main, Center and Third streets will make up that landmark district, including 39 contributing and 17 noncontributing buildings, Tolbert said.

Those commercial buildings in the noncontributing category include those that are not 50 years or older or have been remodeled in such a way as to remove the historic significance, Kurt Garner said.

Garner, of KW Garner Consulting, said he has been hired by the city to help with the nomination process.

That process already has been started by setting up the boundaries of the district and taking photos of buildings. Other steps include writing descriptions of each building and conducting historical research, Garner said.

The nomination process includes submitting paperwork initially to the state for review then to a national board for additional review.

Garner estimates the city could have the landmark designation by as early as August 2014.

The designation brings a number of benefits, including the availability of grants through the state for preservation projects and tax incentives on restoration work, Tolbert said.

Jeff Larimore, who owns one of the commercial buildings in the proposed landmark area, said he was definitely on board as the city pursues the designation.

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