Negaunee creates historical study committee

Negaunee creates historical study committee in hopes of establishing a historic district.
Negaunee creates historical study committee in hopes of establishing a historic district.(City of Negaunee)
Published: Mar. 14, 2022 at 10:32 AM EDT
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NEGAUNEE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Negaunee City Council recently took steps at their last regular meeting to further aid in preserving historic elements of the community.

The council unanimously voted to create a local historical study committee, with the hope to create a local historic district.

The framework for this committee is found under Michigan Public Act 169 of 1970. According to the State Historic Prevention Office (SHPO) website, PA 169 provides communities the legal foundation for the creation of local historic districts.

“Some people may be confused in knowing that we just announced a federally reorganized historic district of Downtown Negaunee a few months ago. As stated, this was mostly honorary. This type of district is similar, but allows for the community to protect and manage its historic assets,” City Manager Nate Heffron said.

According to the process outlined on the SHPO website, it could take up to the end of this year to complete. The process begins with the establishment of a Historic District Study Committee. The Committee then performs the following duties: completes photographic inventory and research; evaluates resources using the National Register of Historic Places criteria; prepares a preliminary historic district study committee report according; transmits their report to the local planning board, SHPO, Michigan Historical Commission and State Review Board; holds a public hearing on their study, and presents their recommendations and findings to council.

Once the committee submits its report, the council will then have the option to adopt an ordinance that creates a Local Historic Commission District.

When established, a Local Historic Commission will have the abilities to establish additional historic districts; provide for the acquisition of certain resources for historic preservation purposes; provide for preservation of historic and non-historic resources within historic districts; provide for the establishment of historic district commissions; provide for the maintenance of publicly owned resources by local units; provide for certain assessments under certain circumstances; provide for procedures; and to provide for remedies and penalties.

“To ensure that the historic elements of our downtown can truly be protected, we must offer the maximum protection we can. Unfortunately, a number of buildings downtown have been significantly changed from their original historic features. This not only detracts from the community’s goal of historic preservation and can take significant funding to correct,” Heffron said.

This protection will require property owners within the district to apply to the Local Historic Commission for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA), before undertaking work within the historic district on the outsides of their buildings.

“This extra protection will ensure that our community’s historic assets are protected for generations to come,” Heffron said.

Residents interested in serving on the newly formed Historic District Study Committee can apply online or in person at city hall by filling out an application. The council hopes to fill the five-member committee by May of this year.

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