In hopes of encouraging more restoration and population growth, local historic preservationists are looking forward to marketing and education recommendations in an upcoming Jefferson City historic preservation plan.
During a special meeting Wednesday, Pennsylvania-based group Heritage Strategies LLC discussed what the Jefferson City Historic Preservation Commission should expect from the city's new historic preservation plan. The plan will contain long-term recommendations to help guide the city with historic preservation projects and enhancements.
"The plan provides a vision to ensure that historic preservation is a key component in how Jefferson City is maintained and developed," City Planner 1 Ahnna Nanoski said.
In December, the Jefferson City Council approved a $30,000 contract with Heritage Strategies to develop a historic preservation plan. The State Historic Preservation Office will pay 50 percent of the contract cost, Jefferson City Neighborhood Services Manager Jayme Abbott said.
Over the next few months, Heritage Strategies plans to research the city's programs that support historic preservation, contact stakeholders and interest groups, and hold public meetings. This will help Heritage Strategies "gain a better understanding" and tailor the plan to the community, regional planner Elizabeth Watson said.
"You guys have done a lot. It's quite remarkable," Watson said. "It's going to be interesting, in a good way, to figure out how to give you a framework in order to see how everything plugs in."
Jefferson City has a "noticeable blight issue," Watson said, adding local entities have offered incentives to remove the blight. However, the city's population has remained stagnant and many people have left these vacant buildings behind, she said.
"You've got to renew people's interest," Watson said. "It's there. We just have to figure out how to help you spark that."
Heritage Strategies created a historic preservation plan for Joplin that focused on neighborhood revitalization, something Jefferson City's upcoming plan may also highlight, architect and planner Peter Benton said.
Along with this, commissioners hope the plan will include recommendations for how to educate the community about historic preservation. Several people are scared to renovate older homes since they do not know what they can and can't do with those properties, Ward 2 Councilwoman Laura Ward said.
The historic preservation plan will be ready by July.