Niles makes National Register of Historic Places

Published 1:10 pm Friday, June 29, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Downtown Niles is officially a historical place.
It was announced this week that Niles is among thousands of other cities, towns, parks and other historical places in the United States that make up the National Register.
It took city workers over two years of research, convincing and time to make this possible.
In order to be considered for the list, National Register properties are distinguished by having been documented and evaluated according to uniform standards.
These criteria recognize the accomplishments of all the people who have contributed to the history and heritage of the United States and are designed to help state and local governments, federal agencies and others identify important historic and archeological properties worthy of preservation and of consideration in planning and development decisions.
"It's wonderful – quite an accomplishment," Lisa Croteau, Niles Marketing Director, said. "We had great partners with the State Historical Preservation Office, including Bob Christsen, who helped make this possible."
Croteau explained that Christsen walked the district to find out information on which buildings were historically important and which ones weren't. The process included hours of research on each building, where a lot of interesting facts were discovered.
"One building, for example, was at 111 Second Street. It's a cute little blue and yellow building. It was actually built by the Williams Brothers, so that was pretty neat. We found out a lot more about downtown," Croteau said.
Donna Ochenryder also helped with this project, and Croteau said that she, along with the rest of the committee did a wonderful job.
Croteau said pretty much all of downtown Niles is on the National Register, with Sycamore, Main and Cedar Streets between Front and Fifth Streets being on the register.
Juan Ganum, Community Development Director, was also very pleased with this and said it will be great for building owners.
"Owners of the properties now may be eligible for a 20 percent investment tax credit. Basically, if they make upgrades to the building, they can receive this tax credit. This is a great market tool for us," Ganum said.
The National Register of Historic Places is the Nation's official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archeological resources. Properties listed in the Register include districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that are significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. The National Register is administered by the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
The designation on the National Registry can benefit the community in a number of ways, including the honorary value, which is a useful tool in maintaining historical buildings, deterring demolition of them and encouraging an attitude of preservation toward downtown district.
The designation also helps in obtaining tax credits for revamping buildings in the historic district instead of demolishing them.