Southside neighborhood could be added to Columbus historic district

June 7, 2011 9:50:00 AM

Carmen K. Sisson - csisson@cdispatch.com

 

A walk through the Southside neighborhood in Columbus yields an architectural mélange, from massive antebellum mansions to quaint Victorian houses to World War II-era bungalows. Together, they create a snapshot of local history, and together they may soon make history again, becoming the city''s first residential historic district registered with the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  

 

Members of the Historic Preservation Commission discussed the issue last night in their monthly meeting, deferring any action until they can meet with members of the city council to explain the matter and answer questions councilmen may have.  

 

The boundaries of the proposed district would be College Street, Mississippi University for Women, the railroad tracks, and the river. MUW would not be included in the district. Wards 1, 2 and 5 would be affected.  

 

"Most towns in Mississippi have done this 10 to 20 years ago," commission member Dr. Joseph Boggess said. "It''s not like we''re doing anything rare or unusual." 

 

The National Trust proposed the boundaries in 1996 when the ordinance creating the downtown historic district was passed. The National Trust also proposed historic districts in the Frog Bottom, Burns Bottom, and Factory Hill neighborhoods.  

 

In order for Southside to be added to the downtown historic district, the city council would have to pass an amendment to the current ordinance. The new district would carry its own design guidelines.  

 

Boggess said taking such action would enable the commission to make sure any future structural modifications are appropriate for the neighborhood. A benefit for homeowners, he said, is being included in a registered historic district could increase property values. 

 

"It''s not going to make any difference in a year, but it will over a generation," he said. "It''s an opportunity for the city to preserve the charm of the neighborhood." 

 

The commission''s next meeing is 5:30 p.m. July 13, on the second floor of City Hall.

Carmen K. Sisson is the former news editor at The Dispatch.