A group of Bexley residents is developing new guidelines to preserve the city's historical structures.

The Historic Preservation Working Group held its first meeting Feb. 22 at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St. Its purpose is to "implement new practices toward the preservation of historic structures within Bexley and to recognize the benefits of preserving our existing quality in order to maintain the historically unique character seen throughout Bexley," according to the city website, www.bexley.org.

"I think this is a very positive outgrowth of our architectural review process," which Bexley implemented in 2002, said Karen Bokor, a design consultant who participates in the Historic Preservation Working Group and also consults with the city's Board of Zoning Appeals and Planning.

The preservation group includes 15 residents with expertise in a variety of industries who are volunteering their time, Bokor said.

"It's architects, attorneys, preservation specialists," she said.

The group will meet monthly for an undetermined time frame to address a variety of historic-preservation issues, from drafting design guidelines for residential renovations and additions to researching best practices in other cities, Bokor said.

"We will hopefully be working toward a document that will be significant" with detailed historic-preservation guidelines for the city to adopt, she said.

One issue the group will research is how the city should handle applications from property owners to demolish properties with historical significance, Bokor said.

"This will give us a tool to better evaluate those," she said.

Euclaire Avenue resident Constance Lewis said she's participating in the group, in part, to prevent historic structures from being demolished.

"There's some protection for some buildings in part of the city (with existing design guidelines), but I think we need to preserve more than just that," she said. "I want to preserve not only the architecture, but the character of the neighborhoods."

Allegheny Avenue resident Stacy Grossman said participating in the group is especially significant for her as a third-generation Bexley resident.

"I think it's long overdue. There are much more established communities that have a better protocol" for preserving historic structures, Grossman said.

Grossman said she knows many longtime residents like herself, who at one point moved away but eventually returned to Bexley because of the quality of life the city offers.

"I think that's pretty unique," she said. "In order to preserve that, we have to figure out why that is and how to preserve it."

For more information about the group, visit www.bexley.org/preservation.

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