- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 23, 2015

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - City officials in Bloomington are considering a move to prevent buildings around the Monroe County Courthouse square being demolished by designating it as a local historic district.

The square is about five blocks from the Indiana University campus and is highlighted by the 1907 domed courthouse, which is already listed on the National Register of Historic Places, The Herald-Times reported (https://bit.ly/1K9yKrC ).

Nancy Hiestand, the city’s housing and neighborhood development department program manager, told some downtown property owners Monday that a local historic designation would strengthen a demolition delay that’s been in place since 2005.

Many of the square’s historic buildings remain intact and still have the old storefronts. “We think we’ve reached a point where we do need to retain this resource as it is,” Hiestand said.

Maintaining the historic feel “sometimes preserves a local element” and could lead to more small businesses, rather than national chains that target college students, locating around the square, she said.

Rob McCrea of a downtown law firm asked planners to consider additional costs that property owners might face, but said he supported the preservation initiative.

“Historical designation for this area has been a long time coming, and it’s needed,” McCrea said.

City Councilman Chris Sturbaum, who is a member of the Bloomington Historic Preservation Commission, said the city should customize guidelines for the downtown district after more talks with property owners.

“Nothing we’re doing is going to make anyone change anything that’s there now,” he said.


Information from: The Herald Times, https://www.heraldtimesonline.com

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