Meeting set for Oct. 11 on historic design guidelines

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The Guttenberg Historic Preservation Commission is excited to announce that they received a Certified Local Government grant from the State Historic Preservation Office and National Park Service to develop Design Guidelines for the Front Street Historic District.  

A public meeting will be held about the project on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m. at the Guttenberg Municipal Building (third floor auditorium).  Any interested local resident is invited to attend.

The Front Street Historic District was originally listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982, with a boundary amendment in 2004.  No restrictions or design guidelines are inherent with the National Register listing, though that is a common misconception.

Property owners in a historic district are encouraged to complete rehabilitation work that is sympathetic to the historic features of the downtown.  This work includes both simple projects to maintain a historic building as well as larger projects to restore the historic appearance of a building.  However, many times property owners are not sure of the best practices for work on a historic building or what might be recommended to do for their particular property.

That is where design guidelines come into play.  Design guidelines are simply what they say – guidelines. There will not be further requirements or rules that any property owner will need to follow. However, the design guidelines will offer suggestions for the best practices in maintenance of a historic building.  Historic building materials are not like modern materials, and it is important to complete work to ensure their longevity rather than demise. The design guidelines will also offer recommendations for improvements to historic buildings to enhance its historic appearance in an appropriate manner, if an owner is interested in that type of project.  The design guidelines will also look at the historic appearance and features of the downtown, providing information to further guide rehabilitation projects.

This project is designed to collect public input into the design guidelines that will be developed.  The public meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 11, will offer an opportunity for residents and property owners to learn more about the project and design guidelines in general, as well as provide feedback on items that they would like to see included or not included in the design guidelines document that will be developed. Any questions on the project will also be answered.

This project is a joint effort of the Guttenberg Historic Preservation Commission, the City of Guttenberg, and project consultant Rebecca Lawin McCarley of SPARK Consulting in Cedar Rapids.  McCarley will present information on design guidelines at the meeting, as well as general information about the National Register of Historic Places and financial incentive programs for rehabilitation for properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  

Any interested resident is invited to attend the public meeting on Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. at the municipal building to learn more about design guidelines and provide any input about the document to be developed.  

There will be opportunity for questions and comments at the meeting.  Anyone who is interested but unable to attend may reach out to the project consultant Rebecca McCarley at 319-200-9767 or or a member of the Guttenberg Historic Preservation Commission.

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