Gloucester’s Main Street being considered

Bill Nachman - Posted on Aug 18, 2010 - 03:16 PM

The Department of Historic Resources held a public information hearing Tuesday to receive comments on the nomination of a portion of Gloucester’s Main Street for inclusion on national and historic registers.

During the hearing at the Main Street Center Association’s office at Main Street Center, Pamela Schenian, acting director of DHR’s Tidewater Region Preservation Office, explained various tax credits that some property owners in the Main Street district might qualify for if the area is accepted in the Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places programs.

Possible tax credits include a 25 percent state credit for buildings that are considered "contributing" to the special nature of the district, Schenian said, as well as a 20 percent federal rehabilitation credit for improvements like a building’s façade. In addition, she said that some owners of "noncontributing" properties in the district might be able to apply for a 10 percent tax credit from the Internal Revenue Service.

Mark Christian Wagner, National Register Manager for DHR, said that officials are using the years from 1754 (the date of the earliest known land plat of Gloucester village) until 1960 as the period that the historic district is being considered for application to the state and national registers. There are 62 buildings along Main Street, from Court Circle to the Hodges and Bryant building just past the 17/14 traffic light, which are considered "contributing" to the project, Wagner said, and another 30 buildings on Main Street considered "noncontributing."

Buildings that lend to the architectural, archaeological and historical profile of the area may be considered in the nomination. Wagner said that the Gloucester village was a place where county government, the courts and merchants all existed, with the central core being expanded through the years.

"This is an honorary district," said Marcus Pollard, principal of consultant Commonwealth Preservation Group of Norfolk, which has been working on the historic designation project for the Main Street Preservation Trust.

The Main Street Preservation Trust is sponsoring this push for the special designation and the possible support for certain businesses. Pollard said 22 other buildings on Court Circle were earlier listed as a district on the state and national registers.

All properties in the new historic district must still meet all local zoning requirements, Pollard said.

Approximately 20 people, including businessmen and a few Main Street residents, attended the meeting. The nomination of the local district might be approved at a historic boards meeting in Richmond Sept. 30.

For more information, visit www.dhr.virginia.gov or call 757-886-2818.