Dublin officials will need to weigh the impact updating its structures and regions officially designated as historic places would have on business and home owners following a study of nearly 900 historic buildings in and around the city.
Dublin paid about $100,000 for Hardlines Design Co. to conduct the study, said Joanne Shelly, a Dublin urban designer and landscape architect.
Hardlines investigated 897 buildings over 50 years of age, as well as bridges, culverts, cemeteries, stone walls, archaeological sites and areas that might possibly have been the sites of mills and quarries.
One of the recommendations brought about as a result of Hardlines’ research, Shelly said, is for the city to make updates to the buildings that are part of the National Register of Historic Places, and to look into expanding the area of the city on the National Register as an historic district.
While Dublin has an area known as the Historic District, the area that is defined on the National Register as a historic district is a smaller space within that, Shelly said.
The study found the city could expand the district to include homes in the Indian Run neighborhood, Shelly said.
Still, Shelly said the city would have to consider the economic and legal impact expanding the district would have on property owners.
“I don’t think that’s something that will speed ahead,” she said.
Dublin’s historic structures date from the 1890s to the 1950s, Shelley said.
In addition to providing context about how the community was developed, the structures help inform the city’s decisions of how the community is developed in the future.
“We need to continue to grow and develop,” Shelley said, but development doesn’t always equate to tearing down structures and building them anew.
The next step, Shelly said, is for the Dublin Architectural Review Board to review the study again and make recommendations regarding the study to City Council.
She said that is something that could happen starting next year.
Meanwhile, the city also plans to update information provided to property owners of historic structures, Shelly said, giving them an updated list of grants and tax write-offs available for updating their buildings.
The guidelines, while being more user-friendly, would also include such information as the types of window styles appropriate for specific buildings.
Whereas home owners might not know where to find resources for home improvement, the city is in a better position to find resources for residents, said Tom Holton, president of the Dublin Historical Society.
“Use the power and the brains and the vast amount of knowledge that the city has gained over the years ... to help people, and then step out,” he said.
Holton also said he hopes the ARB reaches out to those in the community who are experienced with historic structures to help them review the study’s recommendations.
“By themselves, they’re not experienced enough,” Holton said.