Saturday, May 19, 2007
May 19, 2007
Traders Point area may seek historic label
It would become state’s largest rural historic district
By Robert Annis
May 19, 2007
More than 30 people turned out this week to discuss creating a rural historic district in the Traders Point area of Marion and Boone counties.
“We’re seeing development pressures every day,” said consultant Camille Fife of the Westerly Group. “It’s swallowing up all these treasures.”
Mark Dollase, vice president of preservation services for the Historic Landmark Foundation of Indiana, said creating the district could help brand the area and enable residents to make it into a tourist attraction.
Fife is reluctant to put specific boundaries on the proposed area and said bisecting I-865 might mean creating separate historical districts.
In an interview last week, Fritz Kunz, one of the effort’s organizers, said the tentative boundaries would be Cooper Road to the west, Eagle Creek to the east, I-865 to the north and 79th Street and Lafayette Road to the south.
Fife said it would take six to nine months to go through the process, and she plans to spend the next several weeks taking notes and photos throughout the area.
Fife said her firm has done more than 20 applications for other historical sites and has a 100 percent success rate at achieving historic preservation status. The state has two rural historic districts, and Fife said the anticipated 7,000-acre Traders Point site would be much larger than either.
Organizers of the historic district drive have raised $8,000 of the $20,000 they need to pay Fife’s group to spearhead the efforts. Fritz Kunz’s wife, Cindy Kunz, said the money came from two individual donors and a grant. Organizers are applying for two other grants and hope for more individual donations.
Local homeowners expressed concern that creating a rural historic district would place limitations on what they could do with their property, but Fife and Dollase tried to put their minds at ease.
“Nobody’s going to be telling you what you can do or not do with your property,” Fife said.
Fife said residents could do whatever they want with their property as long as they don’t use federal dollars, and they would benefit from increased property values. Dollase added that property values in rural historic districts tend to rise considerably faster than in nonregistered areas.
While the rural historic designation won’t necessarily keep developers out of the area, Fife said many businesses and government projects, such as a new highway, would have to go through an application process, and neighbors would have a bigger say in what happens.