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Posted on: November 1, 2018

Public meeting on possible historic district is set for November 7

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MUSCATINE, Iowa - The Muscatine Historic Preservation Commission invites any interested residents to a public informational meeting on the proposed Fair Oaks Historic District and the National Register of Historic Places.  The meeting will be held at 7 p.m., on Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, at the Musser Public Library (408 E. 2nd Street) in downtown Muscatine.


Property owners and other interested residents are encouraged to attend, learn more about nominating the potential historic district to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), and the benefits of owning a property listed on the NRHP.  This meeting will serve as an opportunity to answer questions as well as an opportunity to gauge public support for the proposed nomination.


The proposed Fair Oak Historic District is roughly bounded by Park Avenue, Washington Street, Park Drive, and Hillcrest Avenue.  The potential historic district includes 135 properties on residential blocks within the neighborhood with approximately 231 total resources including approximately 176 contributing resources and 55 non-contributing resources.  Additional history on the development of the neighborhood will be presented at the meeting.  A map of the proposed historic district will also be available at the meeting.


The City of Muscatine received a Historic Resource Development Program (HRDP) grant in June 2018 from the State Historical Society of Iowa to research and develop a National Register of Historic Places nomination for the potential historic district.  Project consultant Rebecca Lawin McCarley of SPARK Consulting was then hired in July to complete the project.


In 2012-13, the Muscatine Historic Preservation Commission worked with McCarley to complete an architectural and historical survey of 135 residential properties in the Fair Oaks neighborhood.  A history of the neighborhood was compiled as well as basic information on each of the properties.  The final report is available on the Musser Public Library website.


The Fair Oaks Historic District would be the third historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Muscatine.  The Downtown Commercial Historic District was listed on the NRHP in 2005, and the West Hill Historic District was listed in 2008.  Additionally, a number of individual buildings are listed on the National Register.  Buildings listed as contributing within a historic district enjoy the same benefits as buildings individually listed on the National Register. 


Building owners in the proposed Fair Oaks Historic District and other interested residents are encouraged to attend the meeting to learn more about the financial incentive programs available to building owners of properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places and other benefits of listing.  McCarley will present information on the proposed historic district, about the NRHP, and on these financial incentive programs at the meeting.  McCarley notes that no additional restrictions are placed on property owners who have buildings listed in a historic district.


The process of nominating the Fair Oaks Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places will extend over the course of the next year.  Research is being completed this fall, and then the nomination will be developed.  A public draft of the nomination will likely be available for review in the spring.  Depending on the timeline for completion, the nomination will then be reviewed officially by the State Nomination Review Committee (SNRC) in June 2019 or October 2019 in Des Moines.


All property owners within the proposed historic district have the opportunity to indicate if they support the district nomination prior to the SNRC meeting by commenting at a public hearing and/or officially in writing to the State Historic Preservation Office.  If recommended for listing, the nomination will then be forwarded to the National Park Service for formal listing, likely later in 2019.


For additional information, contact Rebecca Lawin McCarley at 319-200-9767 or Dave Gobin at 563-262-4141.

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