Macomb city leaders anticipate numerous benefits for the downtown area now that it’s been added to the National Register of Historic Places by the federal government.
“First and foremost, it means an opportunity (for business owners) to promote their business as being within that area,” said Mayor Mike Inman.
“And for property owners in the downtown, they’ll be able to apply for a federal tax credit for any improvements they make, and that will be up to 30%.”
The tax credit program could benefit maintenance or improvement projects for the outside and inside of buildings. Inman said the city also offers incentives to help property owners improve the downtown.
The historic district is bounded by the railroad tracks, McArthur Street, Washington Street, and Campbell Street. It includes the courthouse square, the Old Bailey House, and the Lamoine Hotel building.
The city is in the process of planning aesthetic and infrastructure improvements to the courthouse square. Community Development Coordinator Ed Basch said the historic district designation could help that project, especially if the city applies for renovation monies through the Illinois Department of Transportation.
“I think that being a nationally designated district certainly helps your cause because you have shown that you are committed to preserving the area, and you’ve gone through a process already, and you have something valuable to protect,” Basch said.
Mayor Inman credited Basch and the city's Historic Preservation Commission for working nearly five years to secure the national honor.
Basch credited numerous volunteers who spent countless hours going through archives. He said their research saved professional consultants the time and effort of doing the work, which in turn saved the city money.