Historic District Expansions Proposed at Meeting June 15

Creation of a new Forest Street Historic District and expansion of the existing Williamson County Courthouse Historic District are two recommendations of a report on the National Register Historic Districts in Georgetown. Highlights of the report will be presented in a public meeting on Monday, June 15, at 5:30 p.m. at the Georgetown Communication and Technology Building, 510 W. Ninth Street.

The City project to assess and update the National Register Historic Districts began in October. One goal of the project is to ensure that as many property owners as possible would be eligible for the new State of Texas tax credits for historic preservation. Previous meetings included a kick-off public meeting to introduce the project last year on November 5 and a workshop on March 17 to provide detailed information about the new tax credit program.

The City of Georgetown hired historic preservation consultant Steph McDougal, of McDoux Preservation, a Houston-area firm, to review the four historic districts that were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970s and 1980s. McDougal determined that the Williamson County Courthouse Historic District boundaries could be expanded to include buildings constructed in the 1935 to 1965 period known as the “highway era.”

She also has recommended the creation of a new historic district in the Forest Street area, south of downtown. That potential new district was first identified in the 2007 survey of historic resources conducted by Hardy-Heck-Moore, an Austin consulting firm. The 2007 survey also recommended the creation of the Olive Street Historic District, which was listed on the National Register in 2013.

McDougal and City Historic Planner Matt Synatschk will be on hand to explain the project, findings, recommendations, and next steps. They will answer questions and have handouts about the proposals.

The new State of Texas franchise tax credit for historic preservation became available in January 2015. The state tax incentive allows property owners to receive a tax credit worth 25 percent of the qualifying expenses associated with rehabilitating a historic building.

In the past, many Georgetown property owners have taken advantage of the federal historic tax credit for historic preservation, which equals up to 20 percent of qualifying project expenses. In order to qualify for the federal program and the new state program, properties must be individually listed on the National Register or classified as “contributing” to a national register historic district.

When the four Georgetown historic districts were listed on the National Register in the 1970s and 1980s, many buildings were either excluded from the district or listed as non-contributing because they were not yet 50 years old. Today, that period can be extended by 30 to 40 years to 1965, potentially enabling many more Georgetown property owners to take advantage of the tax credits.

This project is being funded in part through a certified local government grant from the National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior, as administered by the Texas Historical Commission.

For more information about the City of Georgetown’s historic preservation programs or the current National Register historic districts, visit historic.georgetown.org or contact Matt Synatschk at (512) 930-3581 or Matt.Synatschk@georgetown.org.

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