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Historic Preservation program works to preserve city’s heritage
Monday, September 29, 2008 by Kimberly Reeves
Historic preservation in
Many of the benefits of the city’s preservation program are educational, information that is gathered and catalogued in a growing database. Any time a historic case is initiated – and the Historic Landmark Commission typically initiates a case when a demolition or relocation permit is pulled on a potential landmark candidate –it’s the job of Sadowsky and planner Susan Villarreal to gather the historic background of the structure, noting both its architectural distinctions and historic associations.
And, as Sadowsky pointed out to the Council, it’s not always a house. The city also recognizes landscape features that have historical associations, such as the moonlight towers and the Treaty Oak. These are items associated with
The office, at the discretion of Council, also has attempted to address some of the challenges of preservation, such as teardowns, by creating the concept of local historic districts. These historic districts are still in the early stages of development, but they are intended to maintain historic integrity beyond a single property line.
“This is the tool that the city supplied to neighborhoods to help protect neighborhoods,” Sadowsky said in his presentation to the Council. “We also have National Register Districts, which go to the Texas Historical Commission, and we administer the local aspects of that.”
The historic preservation program was launched in 1974. To date,
Sadowsky’s office reviews well over 700 permits each year. It uses the collective historic preservation research to institute activities such as historic walking tours of the city. The office also has coordinated with the Heritage Society’s tours to provide background and context for neighborhoods.
“This also comes down to heritage tourism,” Sadowsky said. “We have so many tourists coming to
Landmark designation in
Sadowsky’s office continues to work toward updating the city’s comprehensive historic survey, which was completed in 1984. The goal is to get that information gathered and on a website, so people who come into
The office also supports other missions, Sadowsky said. For instance, the Historic Preservation office is looking within the informal boundaries of the warehouse district to identify relevant historic buildings. When the Building and Standards Commission considers a case, they provide the information to Sadowsky’s office to research the structure before demolition is approved. The office also provides data to the Residential Design and Compatibility Commission to assist them in decisions on approving additions to buildings.
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