Historic preservation advocates say historic districts help the local economy

Historic Preservation advocates say creating historic districts helps boost the local economy. The Lafayette Historic Preservation Commission points to downtown Lafayette as an example.

Posted: Dec 23, 2020 12:37 AM

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)-Historic Preservation advocates say creating historic districts helps boost the local economy. The Lafayette Historic Preservation Commission points to downtown Lafayette as an example. That area has grown significantly since it was established as a historic district. At the heart of downtown near Main and 6th street, several shops and restaurants are occupying the historic buildings.  Above those businesses is more space, some of which house apartments. Those apartments are in high demand and nearly always leased out. Vice President of the Historic Preservation Commission Sean Lutes says historic buildings draw people to the community.

"Historic districts raise property values they draw in tourism and areas like this have what we call placemaking,” said Lutes. “There is something unique about this area that draws people in. They want to do business here, they want to live here."

Lutz says one of the challenging things about historic districts is the misconceptions surrounding them.

“Local historic districts in Lafayette do not impact interior work, landscaping repair work, painting a surface that has already been painted, and several other features,” added Lutes.

He says it's only major exterior changes, new construction, and demolition that is affected by an area being designated a historic district. Even with those restrictions, 97-100 percent of projects are approved by the historic preservation commission.

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