CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- More of the East End could become a national historic district under a plan unveiled Wednesday at the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority.
Lori Brannon, the city's neighborhood planner for the East End, persuaded CURA board members to provide funds to help nominate a large area north of Washington Street as a historic district.
Much of the East End from Lee Street to Kanawha Boulevard is already a historic district. The new district could run from Washington to Piedmont Road, and from Morris Street to Greenbrier Street.
The CURA money, up to $12,000, would be used as a 30 percent match for a $40,000 planning survey grant from the state Historic Preservation Office, Brannon said. If the grant is approved, the city's Historic Landmarks Commission could hire a consultant to survey all properties within the proposed area to see whether they would contribute to a historic district.
Five years ago, students in West Virginia State University Professor Billy Joe Peyton's local history research class did a similar door-to-door study of much of the area, Brannon said. But the data is out of date and incomplete.
"Any structures not surveyed need to be surveyed, and we need photographs," she said.
The idea for creating a historic district in that area has been bouncing around for several years. But in recent months, it has gathered momentum in talks among East End Main Street Director Ric Cavender, City Councilman Marc Weintraub and CURA Director Jim Edwards, Brannon said.
"The whole purpose of this is to provide a financial incentive for people to redevelop their properties, at their option," he said.
Once a property is recognized as nationally historic, either as part of a district or individually, owners can earn state and federal tax credits of up to 30 percent for certain renovations, if they're done according to national historic guidelines.