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Top 10 Blanco Historic Preservation Needs
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 • Posted February 8, 2011

The office of the Blanco Historic Preservation Commission (BHPC) is to protect the historical, architectural, and archaeological resources that make Blanco very unique.

This can only be done through the creation of the local historic district. BHPC oversees a design review process for exterior alterations to historic landmarks and district; we coordinate and make sure that it complies with the required local Unified Development Code (UDC), Texas Historical Commission, and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines.

BHPC is committed to historic preservation, the creation of local jobs, and education.

Explore our website to find out more about who we are and what we do by logging onto: www.blancoguide.com/masterplan/cmp/historic.php

Here is the list of the top ten needs, whether for the downtown district or for older homes-50 years old and older:

1. Utilize Blanco’s heritage to develop tourism and related businesses in the community through preservation of historic buildings and sites throughout the community.

2. Local individual home as landmarks.

3. Established a ‘preservation academy’ to host lectures, workshops, and events promoting historic preservation to the community, e.g., window restoration workshops, a Homeowner’s Fair, and many other activities to share information about caring for historic resources.

4. Owner-occupied rehabilitation loan and/or grant programs to help low to moderate-income historic property owners.

5. Owner-occupied ‘historic restoration tax abatement program’ to help low to moderate-income historic property owners.

6. Business owner-occupied (or otherwise) a ‘old lumber yard’ to be used for buying and selling used historic preservation building supplies, lumber, siding, windows, interior trim, hardware, etc. Gonzalez, TX is an icon for selling used historic building materials. What a great way for creating local jobs!

7. Create awareness for owners of buildings and homes that are in need and combat the deterioration of historic housing stock and the erosion of neighborhood fabric that occurs when properties are demolished or just neglected.

8. Continuation of the design guidelines for new construction and renovation for the entire community of Blanco.

9. Prioritize properties in need of protection and develop a program to do so.

10. Continuation of the walking tour of Blanco into the parks and the Blanco State Park that would serve as a tourist attraction.

In Texas historic preservation is a major industry and has been an economic development winner. The numbers tell the story: preservation activities generate more than $1.4 billion of economic activity in Texas each year, and support almost 41,000 Texas jobs. This creates significant net tax revenue for both state and local governments. When viewed in cost-benefit terms, historic preservation is one of the best investments available today. This study was done by the Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers University.

Economic Impacts of Historic Preservation in Texas study contains seven major conclusions:

• Cities with active historic preservation programs indicate that historical designations can increase property values by as much as 20 percent.

• Property owners reinvest in historic properties in many cases because of incentive programs offered by state and local governments. More than 30 Texas cities offer property tax incentive programs resulting in millions of reinvested dollars. This reinvestment, in turn, generates thousands of in state jobs and millions of dollars of income and state wealth (i.e., Gross State Product or GSP).

• Private property owners invest more than $172 million in historic building rehabilitation annually which averages more than 4 percent of all building rehabilitation activity. Public entities add another $20 million for a total annual historic rehabilitation investment in Texas of more than $192 million.

• Rehabilitation of historic properties alone created more than 4,200 jobs in Texas in 1997 in diverse areas such as construction, manufacturing, transportation, utilities, retail and services. Overall, historic preservation activities created more than 40,000 jobs that year.

• More than 11 percent of all travelers to Texas are heritage travelers and that number continues to rise. Heritage travelers in Texas spend about $1.43 billion annually with approximately $1.2 billion resulting from overnight stays and about $230 million from day trips.

• Texas history museums spend $39 million annually, not including capital expenditures. Even history museums in the smallest communities across the state attract thousands of visitors annually.

• Historic downtowns sustain communities and are the focus of the Texas Historical Commission’s Texas Main Street Program. More than 75 cities currently participate in the Texas Main Street Program. Since the program’s inception in 1981, Main Street cities averaged $97 million annually in reinvestments, $56 million in income and added $87 million in GSP to the state’s economy.

The Economic Impacts of Historic Preservation in Texas study and copies of this report are available at the Texas Historical Commission Library, 1510 Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78711.

Rudy Nino is a member of Blanco’s Historic Preservation Commission and a historic restoration services contractor and an EPA Certified Lead-Safe Firm.

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