City and county elected officials on Monday indicated their interest in nominating the Glen Rose downtown square for designation as a National Register Historical District.
Karen Richardson, chair of the city’s Preservation Board, appeared before the Somervell County Commissioners Court and Glen Rose City Council to brief them about the benefits of such a designation.
A federal designation of the entire downtown square to the National Register as a Historical District would open the way for more grant money, she told commissioners and council members at their separate meetings.
The money could be used for adding crosswalks, renovating property, complying with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access requirements and other downtown projects, she said.
County Commissioner James Barnard asked Richardson if such a designation would obligate downtown properties to additional restrictions.
The only restrictions are the ones set out in the local ordinance, she said.
“Grants are getting very competitive,” Richardson told commissioners. “It’s tough. This would give us a leg up. Having our downtown on the National Register would be a big plus.”
The Somervell County Courthouse already is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. About 20 structures around the square and Town Hall, the Campbell Building, the old Glen Rose Reporter building also would be included in the nomination.
Richardson was to give County Attorney Ron Hankins a copy of a “sign off letter” to review. Then the item will be placed on the next commissioners meeting agenda for action.
At the council meeting Monday evening, Richardson thanked Councilman and past mayor Johnny Martin for his role in getting Glen Rose status as one of the state’s 56 “certified local governments.”
That program has about $1 million in grants available to be distributed to those governments for local projects, Richardson said. It also gives Glen Rose another qualification when it goes to apply for other grants.
Richardson said she has talked to downtown property owners and sees “nothing but advantages” to the National Register designation.
“It’s a myth that there are restrictions,” she told the council.
“If a property owner wants to renovate the front of a building, you’ll be able to write that off on income tax,” she added. “It’s a win-win. It’s only an opportunity to improve our downtown.”
Preparing the nomination application and submitting it would the city cost about $12,500. However, $10,000 already was budgeted to apply for another grant whose deadline has passed, so the city would have to come up with an additional $2,500 in the next budget year.
The council plans to discuss the program at its budget workshop.