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Old Town Greenwood closer to becoming official historic district

GREENWOOD, Ind. (WISH) — A grassroots organization in Old Town Greenwood is making big steps in preserving the area’s history.

The group is called Restore Old Town Greenwood and Thursday it received a grant to fund an application for a “historic district” designation.

It costs about $10,000 to apply to be a “historic district” on the state registry.

As of Thursday, the group received a second grant to pay for the application, meaning no taxpayer dollars will be spent.

The two grants have been awarded by the State Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology and from Indiana Landmarks.

“It’s a great place to live, Old Town Greenwood,” Resident Father John O’Connor said.

Father O’Connor lives and works in the historic area of downtown.

“I’ve lived here about 20 years off and on in Old Town Greenwood,” he said.

He’s excited to hear his neighborhood might become registered as a historic residential area with the state.

Senior City Planner Ed Ferguson said that works well with the other downtown improvements the city’s been making.

“It will just help build the momentum and the positive recognition and reputation of being a historic district,” City of Greenwood Senior Planner Ed Ferguson said.

He also said it will bring benefits to homeowners like O’Connor.

“That would qualify the homeowners for tax credits if they do improvements to their homes that meet the preservation guidelines,” Ferguson said.

According to the state’s website, it won’t prevent homeowners from making changes to their homes.

“It’s optional, it’s just sort of a bonus for living in the Old Town area,” Restore Old Town Greenwood Board Member Ezra Hill said.

Hill has worked with the group for more than a year to make this historic designation a reality.

“We keep working hard and step by step accomplishing these goals,” he said.

From the city’s perspective, being on the historic registry will have added benefits for years to come.

“Hopefully it will make us eligible for future grants dealing with streetscape and infrastructure,” Ferguson said.

It could also improve property values over time.

The next step in the application process is hiring a professional to survey the neighborhood, define an exact boundary for the historic area, and then send in an application to the state.

That’s expected to take a couple of months.

To visit Restore Greenwood’s Facebook page click here.