Local historic district undergoing revisionsMidtown Plaza, Whittier building, Longhorn Bar also discussed at commission meeting.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell Historic Commercial District’s area and boundaries are being adjusted. No major changes are expected, according to Molly Goldsmith, Mitchell Main Street & Beyond’s executive director. The State Historic Preservation Office will announce changes to the area this fall, the Mitchell Historic Preservation Commission was told Wednesday.
The district has been in the National Register of Historic Places since 1975. The district was re-examined in the 1990s, Goldsmith said, and it is being re-examined again.
Its boundaries are Main Street from the Depot to the Corn Palace, according to City Planner Neil Putnam, and a block on either side. Some other buildings in the area, including the Davison County Courthouse and the Carnegie Resource Center, where Wednesday’s meeting was held, are also in the district.
Goldsmith said when they were shown the proposal for the revised commercial district last year, there was some concern. But now some properties once again have been placed within the boundaries.
The Daily Republic is among the buildings that have been moved back into the district.
She said the state officials look for “architectural integrity” and “historical significance” in the buildings.
“If it’s been significantly altered, they really can’t allow it into the district,” Goldsmith said.
The other reason for the review is to note buildings that have been torn or burned down or otherwise removed.
The State Historic Preservation Office will hold a public meeting in Mitchell this fall before submitting its final report. The National Park Service, which oversees the register, will review submissions in 2013 before issuing the designations.
In other agenda items:
The commission gave its approval to a proposed façade improvement project for the Midtown Plaza.
Bob Schoenfelder, who owns the building, is planning a tuck-pointing project. That involves replacing the mortar between bricks.
“This project will complete this building,” said Goldsmith, an ex-officio member of the commission. “It’s a big project.”
Schoenfelder is seeking a $48,000 loan from the Main Street Revolving Loan Fund. His application needed approval from the commission before it could be approved.
Schoenfelder previously used the loan program once and paid it back, Goldsmith said. The loan is at 3 percent. The fund is just over $280,000, Goldsmith said, with about $85,000 of it now out on loans.
“I think this is exactly the kind of thing we should encourage,” said commission member Mel Pooley.
The project will start “immediately,” Goldsmith said. “It’s a really large project. They would like to get it done before the snow flies.”
In addition, Schoenfelder plans to replace missing bricks and finish off the outside of the historic building.
Whittier School project
The private Whittier School project to convert the former elementary school into office space and apartments is going well, the commission was told.
“They’re kind of fabulous,” Goldsmith said.
She toured the building last week. The offices are near completion and the apartments are being created while using the existing space in the old school, which opened in 1935 and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
The commission plans to tour it soon.
Longhorn Bar demolition
The old Longhorn Bar is still standing, but that shouldn’t last much longer, the commission was told. The Mitchell City Council tabled a discussion on buying the building for $1 and having it removed. “It’s going to be torn down,” Goldsmith said. “Shame to lose it,” Pooley said, shaking his head. Commission members said they would like to see either a new building or a park placed at that corner location in downtown.