Historic district plan gets needed signatures

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By Andrea Tritschler

Brighton’s downtown is often described by residents and officials as historic.

That designation could soon become official. It also could be used to promote tourism and generate new money to remodel downtown buildings, supporters say.

Some 60 percent of property owners recently signed a petition to support the proposed district on North Main Street from Bridge Street to Freedoms Way, according to Wayne Scott, a former historic preservation board member and current Brighton Urban Renewal Authority member. Scott started the petition.

Property owners in historic districts can get government grants and tax credits to renovate buildings, Scott said.

Investors also can get lower interest rates on mortgages, Scott said. That could be a draw for business owners looking to set up shop in Brighton when combined with other financial incentives, he said.

People involved in historic district plans commonly create design standards, too, which address what types of building changes are appropriate.

Now that the petition is done, the city’s historic preservation commission is expected to start work on creating design guidelines for the district, according to Aja Tibbs, Brighton’s long-range and strategic planner.

After design guidelines are created, public meetings could be scheduled to discuss them, Tibbs said.

Businesses typically can get 20 to 30 percent of remodeling costs paid for with government grants and credits, based on existing state historic district programs.

For example, the former Buddhist temple and future home of Big Choice Brewing, 21 S. First St. received $27,000 in tax credits, according to Tibbs. The Cannery Lofts project planned for just north of 224 N. Main St., received close to $600,000 in credits, according to Scott.

The building at 119 N. Main St. – the planned future location of Moonshine Bar – is the only building in the proposed district that currently has a historic designation.