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AHB receives federal grant for historic survey

The Danville Architectural Heritage Board has received a federal grant to update a survey of buildings that now are considered old enough to contribute to downtown historic districts. If structures now qualify, the owners can apply for the National Register of Historic Places designation which in turn will allow them to apply for state and federal tax credits that may be available when they work on their historic properties.

The Kentucky Heritage Council, an agency within the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, recently distributed $93,501 in matching grants to eight Certified Local Government communities for 10 projects that will benefit local preservation and planning goals. The grants also require a 40% match from the local governments.

Made possible by annual funding from the National Park Service, KHC awarded Danville’s AHB $6,180. Other cities awarded the grant include Bardstown, Bellevue, Covington, Frankfort, Metro Louisville, Paducah and Shelbyville.

Danville Historic Preservation Coordinator Joni House said, “We received a grant to survey several structures around the Lexington, Broadway National Register District. Basically we are looking at buildings that have never been surveyed before to see if they are National Register eligible as well as updating old surveys. This will help us define which of these buildings are contributing to the downtown historic districts.”

House said, “This does not place any type of additional restrictions on the buildings or their owners.”

House added, “National Register eligibility generally makes property values go up. If they ever decide to sell the building it could mean the property sells for more.”

House said they will be looking for structures that “have hit the magic number of 50 which could make it a contributing historical structure. We aren’t only looking for ‘fancy’ architecture. Utilitarian buildings are also now part of Danville’s historic character. What always comes to my mind are the block buildings and quonset buildings. We don’t always think of them as National Register eligible but some are.”

The last historic survey in the Lexington, Broadway district was conducted in 1980. So buildings not eligible then may now qualify as historic, if they were built before 1971. “It’s hard to believe it has been 40 years since the surveys were done,” House said.

The project area includes structures within the Lexington-Broadway National Historic Register District as well as the 100 block of North Fourth Street, the 100 block of North Third Street, and the 100 and 200 blocks of Larrimore Lane and North Second Street between Main and Lexington, House explained.

A consultant will be hired to assist in the survey and determine which structures are eligible to qualify. “We are looking at the early fall. Of course this all depends on COVID-19. We don’t want to risk anyone’s health. Volunteers will be needed to assist with surveys. We will need help getting images of the buildings for sure. Hopefully we can have a training program before we start – again depending on COVID.”