Downtown Cartersville continues historic designation process, wins preservation award
by Jason Lowrey
Mar 16, 2014 | 1808 views | 0 0 comments | 36 36 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Attempts to have downtown Cartersville named to the National Register of Historic Places overcame one hurdle Friday, Feb. 28, when the Georgia Historic Preservation Division recommended the application to federal officials.

The proposed downtown historic district, according to a press release from Cartersville City Planner Richard Osborne, would be bounded by Church Street, Gilmer Street, Leake Street and Bartow Street. The district will also include properties previously listed on the national register, such as the Grand Theatre, while absorbing the North Erwin Street Historic District and the North Wall Street Historic District.

If the downtown area receives the designation it would give the Downtown Development Authority another tool for promoting local businesses, said DDA Manager Tara Currier.

“It’ll be tremendous for downtown. Not only will it allow us to put signage up on the interstate and some of the state routes, letting people know we are a historic area and to come into our downtown, but it’s just a great promotional piece for people who are interested in coming to historic areas and seeing how we’ve been able to preserve our downtown all these years,” she said.

Although there are signs on Interstate 75 promoting downtown Cartersville as a business district, the historic district signs would draw a different crowd, Currier believed.

“I know even from my time working at Booth Museum, certainly ... Booth gets a lot of visitors from all over the country, much less all over the state, and people continuously commented on what a charming historic town we had, but they didn’t necessarily know that until they came and saw for themselves,” Currier said. “They were drawn here through another mechanism, Booth Museum or some of the other shops, so this’ll just be a way we can brand the entire district.

“Hopefully once people get here, of course, [they will see] we’re historic but with a wonderful progressive charm in that we have Booth Museum and some of the other ... some of the newer buildings and structures that we have downtown as well.”

By being recommended to the federal level, the downtown area is now on the Georgia Register of Historic Places, according to the press release. However, being designated on the register does not place any obligations or restrictions on use, treatment, transfer or disposition of private property. Among the advantages to being part of a historic district, Currier said, is the availability of various grants.

“Well, they mention there are actually additional grants and things that will be available to business or property owners that are looking to do things downtown. So, yes, absolutely that will open up some new avenues for funding new projects downtown or rehabilitation projects specifically,” she said.

According to the release, federal officials are reviewing the city’s application and a decision may be made during the summer.

Cartersville’s downtown also received an award Wednesday, Feb. 26, for Best Community Planning Initiative for the city’s recently completed downtown master plan. Georgia’s Main Street program, under the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, awarded the city for its downtown improvement work.

“Georgia’s Main Streets are the jewels of our state and play a crucial part in economic development,” said GDCA Commissioner Gretchen Corbin in a press release. “Establishing a vibrant and flourishing downtown speaks volumes about a community’s commitment to economic growth for its citizens and its businesses.”

Currier accepted the award on behalf of the city, and she thanked the DDA board for recommending the master plan and Mayor Matt Santini and the city council for adopting it.

For more information on the city’s application for the national register designation, visit www.cityofcartersville.com.