Saturday, October 29, 2005

More News After a Darn Busy Week

Here’s some news that may have slipped under the radar.

Develop New Albany has secured assistance from Ball State Universities Center for Historic Preservation – Department of Architecture and Planning. Three buildings have been chosen for façade drawings that will demonstrate rehabilitation options. Shrader Stables, Reisz Building (addresses in previous post), and the Baer Bazaar at 319-321 Pearl Street. A Ball State student will prepare booklets illustrating current conditions, minor and major rehabs, history of the buildings, as well as make a public presentation when the project is done – sometime next spring.

Susan Lankford (Project Coordinator, Center for Historic Preservation) will be leading the project. I understand that only six structures will be done in the state in 2006 and we’ve got three of them. These projects help building owners and potential owners to visualize options for the buildings as well as generating interest in the downtown area.

For more info on the Center for Historic Preservation:

New Albany has obtained Certified Local Government (CLG) status. CLG status is important for a funding source – 10% of all funds allocated to our state historic preservation office (DHPA) must be reserved for CLG’s. It is also an important source for technical assistance.

The New Albany Historic Preservation Commission and staff have prepared grant requests for updating our State Historic Building Survey and to hire a consultant to complete National Register nominations for several areas in the City. We should know by January if the grants will be approved.

For more info on the CLG program:

Sunday, October 23, 2005

More Info for Workshop

See previous post for more information on the Workshop planned for Wednesday October 26th, 11am to 4pm. To register call 941-0018 or email

Please note that the DHPA website ( does a far better job of documenting tax credits and incentives. This information is being provided merely as a primer for the Workshop. *The source documentation for all the below information is the DHPA website*.

Income tax credits – Income Producing Properties:
The federal government and state of Indiana offer a Rehabilitation Investment Tax Credit (RITC) equaling 20% of rehabilitation costs for qualified work on properties that are certified historic buildings. As noted previously, the 3 buildings that are part of the workshop are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and are “certified historic buildings”.

A net subsidy equaling 40% of qualified rehabilitation costs may be yielded by participation in federal and state programs. Eligible properties include commercial buildings, factories, or even old houses but they must be income producing, such as rental properties.

For more information:

Qualified Rehabilitation:
In order to qualify for the RITC all work must meet the Secretary of Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. Plans must be pre-approved by DHPA and a final inspection is required to verify that work is completed in compliance with the approved plans.

For more information:

The Application Process:
Applications should be obtained from the DHPA. Applications for the federal RITC are also available on-line at

Tax credits are a powerful tool for revitalization and I look forward to learning more about these and additional incentives at the Wednesday workshop.

Helpful info for Wednesday Workshop

Wednesday’s workshop promises to be an educational and helpful event. The amount of information provided could also be quite overwhelming. The below is being provided as pre-read information to assist in acclimating to terms and programs that may be covered during the day. Also included is a description of the buildings that will be visited during the day.

Mr. David Duvall (Historical Architect) will be the representative from the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology (DHPA). His bio is below:

David Duvall has been with the Division since 1998. David is a graduate of University of Cincinnati - College of Design Architecture and Art and is a registered architect in the State of Indiana. In addition to architectural practice with a focus on historic preservation, he has also served as Director of the Historic Preservation Commission of South Bend & St. Joseph County.

What is the DHPA? The DHPA is comprised of six individual, but coordinated, sections: Registration and Survey, Archaeology, Architecture and Tax Credits, Grants, Historic Structures Review, and Special Projects. For more information on the DHPA’s mandates, programs, services, and staff please visit their website

For best description of what they do and how they do it I recommend this section of the site:

Three buildings will be visited during the workshop. The following descriptions were taken directly from the National Register application for Downtown. The descriptions are important because they describe the key architectural elements of the buildings.

Shrader Stables – 118 W. Main Street, Italianate, c. 1870.
This is a two and a half story brick building, with a wide, projecting decorated cornice with double scrolled brackets and a corbelled course as a lower frieze. The second story windows are round headed with decorative, projecting hoods with modified keystones and brackets. There are six in the façade and all have plain stone sills. The store front consists of a small entrance at left to the upper floors, with tow bays filled with garage doors (modern and at right, entrance to the store front with transoms occluded and a large display window).

Reisz Building – 146 E. Main Street, Italianate, c. 1880.
A tan brick commercial/industrial building with three stories and a low, side gabled roof. This building has nice bays on the front façade which has a decorative projecting cornice and shadows of the dentils. The windows are mostly blocked with metal, and have dressed, flat stone heads and sills. On the west façade, there are three ranks of multi-light, metal casement windows. The main floor was remodeled c. 1950 with a canted glass front, the panes of which are separated by massive concrete piers. Above is a metal and neon sign across the entire façade.

Baptist Tabernacle – 318 E. Fourth Street, Neoclassical Revival, c. 1879
An outstanding building, brick of three plus stories, with an ornate façade comprised of three bays, each of which has a round arched opening or panel marked by limestone from a limestone capital above brick pilasters. The central element has a pedimented roof with a projecting cornice with small brackets. There is a curved band of dentils above the main central arch which are flanked left and right by pressed metal capitals above brick pilasters. The side elevation of the building contains corbelled brick arches, with at least one metal casement window in the space. All of the arched windows have stone sills. There is a limestone water table.

Each building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and within the boundaries of the Downtown Local Historic District.

Because the buildings are in a local historic district, the New Albany Historic Preservation Commission will be responsible for reviewing plans for exterior restorations or alterations to assure appropriateness and compatibility.

This post is getting rather lengthy, so I will be adding more posts later with additional definitions and helpful web links.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

A trip and a question

Just returned from a trip to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. It was a fantastic trip punctuated by great fall weather. A trip to the battlefield is a must to anyone with even a mild interest in Civil War history. It is truly overwhelming and humbling.

The traffic congestion was also a bit overwhelming. 1.5 million people visit each year - it appeared to me that all 1.5 million showed up at the same time.

The trip got me to thinking about tourism and history. It's a big business. Which of course led me to the inevitable question:

What historical assets does New Albany have that (are/should be/could be) tourist destinations?

Important training

As reported by NA Confidential - (see link NAConfidential_photo-update-downtown-historic)

Tax Credits and other Incentives for Locating in the New Albany Downtown National Register Historic DistrictField Day -
Wednesday, Oct. 26, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

This should be extremely educational and I applaud the concept of meeting in actual buildings that are eligible for the very credits and incentives that will be addressed during the field day.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

If you could have one back

New Albany, like all towns and cities, has lost its share of spectacular structures. If you could have one back, which one would it be?

For me, it would have to be the old YMCA at the corner of the Pearl and Main. Why? Despite the obvious irony (it had a pool and 2 gyms, got razed, we're building a new one with similar spec's) it appeared to be a grand structure. I can only imagine the view from the 4th story turret. If it were still around, maybe we'd be talking about renovating the old Y to the new Y.

How about you? Is there a downtown building or residence that you wish was still around? Why? If you've got a story or personal experience to share please do.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Here's the deal....

I wanted to create a place where people could come discuss and share experiences and memories of New Albany and Floyd County. Do you remember the first Harvest Homecoming? Have you lived in New Albany all your life? Do you have a special memory of shopping in downtown New Albany? I'd like to hear about it. I'm sure others would as well.

There's no special format here. In fact, I won't even be administering the blog on a regular basis. I spend most of my day in front of a computer at work and have no interest in hopping on one in the evenings when I get home. However, I will occasionally spark a conversation and then watch what happens. My guess is it will be entertaining as well as educational.

I'll get started in a bit with a first topic.