LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)- There will soon be three new historic districts in the city of Lafayette. Historic preservationists hope to have even more in the near future. Trinity United Methodist Church is one of the buildings that's now protected. The historic church in downtown Lafayette is the oldest congregation in the city. Now, the building will be protected for years to come.
"It's been designated as a local historic district and what that means is when there are major exterior changes new construction or potential for demolition they will work with the Lafayette Historic preservation commission to find solutions that are sensitive but feasible," said Sean Lutes the Vice President of the Lafayette Historic Preservation Commission.
Trinity is just one of many historic buildings the city is looking to protect. Especially close to downtown. Main Street in downtown Lafayette has been a historic district since the early 1990s which has helped grow the local economy.
"We have a great deal of our original historic downtown still intact and many communities don't have that advantage," said John Collier the Assistant Director of Economic Development in Lafayette.
Most of old Lafayette's falls in what is called a nationally registered district. That means the federal government has recognized the area as important to the country's cultural and architectural history. However, local recognitions are what ultimately protect buildings from being demolished or changed.
"Local districts on the other hand actually do provide those protections to historic exteriors and to make sure that new construction is sensitive," said Lutes. "So while most of the city is on a nationally registered district only a portion of it is actually protected."
Economic development leaders with Lafayette say those protections are why the city of Lafayette's downtown is growing and thriving.
"If there were no local historic districts in downtown Lafayette it's conceivable that there would be buildings boarded up or vinyl siding put up over the facades of these beautiful old buildings or windows that are boarded up with plywood," said Collier.
By 2025 the city and historic preservation commission would like to have an additional 200 buildings protected in downtown Lafayette as of right now they have about 300 total properties protected.