April 13, 2012 12:14:00 PM
The city of Starkville is moving forward -- albeit slowly -- in its quest to have its downtown included in the National Register of Historic Places. Downtown Columbus has benefited from the designation -- the evidence is plain to see -- and so will Starkville.
It's a tedious process requiring public hearings, the compilation of a detailed inventory of architecture within the proposed district and completion of a 60-page application. So far downtown business owners has been indifferent and/or wary. Merchants understandably worry about restrictions the designation will impose. Proponents have more educating to do.
We think education will erase those fears. After all, it's simply good business to preserve and restore historic downtown architecture, an asset many towns don't enjoy. And, 45 percent in state and federal tax credits makes this move easy to like.
Starkville already has three residential neighborhoods on the register.
The Starkville Central Neighborhood Foundation, the driving force for the effort, will hold a public hearing Monday to field questions concerning the organization's bid for the designation. The hearing is 6:30 p.m. at the Oktibbeha County Heritage Museum at 206 Fellowship St. in Starkville.
Bill Gatlin, national register coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, will be on hand to explain what the National Register is, the parameters of the proposed district, and what the distinction would mean to property owners.
After the public hearing, the nomination will be presented in Jackson to the Mississippi Historic Preservation Professional Review Board on May 17.
We encourage residents to attend Monday's hearing. Now is the time to educate yourselves and voice your opinions.